6 Tips for Respecting Local Culture on Your Spiritual Pilgrimage
Planning a spiritual pilgrimage? Use these tips on local culture and customs to avoid disturbing others' peace.
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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.
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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.
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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.