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Planning a spiritual pilgrimage? Use these tips on local culture and customs to avoid disturbing others’ peace.
When you make a spiritual journey, remember that the places you visit are usually sacred to local people; be unobtrusive and respectful. Locals sometimes complain that visitors interfere with their worship, exploit their spiritual practices, or act inappropriately. Here are tips for having a spiritual experience without disturbing others’ peace:
1. Be open-minded.
Go with an open-minded, noncondescending spirit, reminds Nicholas Shrady, author of Sacred Roads. An attitude of respect is the best guide for right action.
2. Do your research.
Research a place before you go so you’ll know how to act in accordance with the local beliefs, says Kimla McDonald of the Cultural Conservancy.
3. Read the literature.
Delve into the sacred literature so you understand what the rituals signify.
4. Respect where you are.
Treat every place like a sanctuary, including outdoor and archaeological locations. Sit quietly, speak softly, act responsibly, don’t draw attention to yourself.
5. Bring an offering.
Ask a local: How do I show my gratitude for being here? What’s the appropriate way to present an offering?
6. Don’t intrude.
Be aware of the times when you shouldn’t visit a place out of deference to others, says McDonald. At special times of the year, local people make their own pilgrimages.