Spiritual Travels: How to Get the Most from Sacred Places
The practice of visiting sacred places for personal growth is an ancient one. Walking the thirty-two-mile circumambulation around Tibet’s Mount Kailash—a pilgrimage said to remove the sins of a lifetime—has been a tradition for more than 15,000 years. In southwest British Columbia, the Nlaka pamux and Lil’wat peoples say they have been going on vision quests along the banks of the Stein River “forever.”
Today’s spiritual traveler is also looking for an inner journey as well as a cultural experience. Having traveled to at least a dozen sacred sites in North and South America, England, Asia, Australia, and the Pacific islands—as well as interviewing countless others about their experiences—I feel qualified to pass along some tips about how to get the most from the sacred places you may visit.
Enter with Knowledge and the Right Attitude
To start, it helps to do your homework. The more you know about the history of a place, the more you will appreciate actually being there. If I hadn’t read about it beforehand, I’m sure I would not have been moved to tears when I stood at the very spot in Canterbury Cathedral where Archbishop Thomas Becket was slain in 1170.