The answer is incredibly simple, my life became a spiritual journey because suffering and cruelty drove me to question what life was about at a very young age. There were three significant factors which launched my journey, the first being poverty and witnessing the suffering, terror and daily struggles of my mother to raise us, four children, on her own after our father was committed to a mental institution. The second was the cruelty of school teachers who, I later learnt, regarded us as fatherless bastards and punished us for it. The third was several months spent in a children’s home and the wanton gleeful cruelty of the people who ran it. There was more, but those were the primary causes of my struggles to understand and make sense of senseless suffering and cruelty.
A fourth factor became relevant when I was 14, which coincided with puberty, I disappeared down a hell hole of black depression which dominated my life for the next 50 years, until I made some uneasy peace with it.
Two further elements became relevant on my journey and which captivated my attention: seemingly random events which occurred unlooked for, which I call synchronicity, and the kindness of strangers. It was as if the universe conspired to aid me on my journey and even now, mere days from being 70, I have no better explanation for the unlooked for and unexpected events which changed the entire course of my life for the better.
On the subject of random events, God did not enter my journey until I was 17 when I had a vision at work one day: the world around me disappeared like a slide in a slide projector and I found myself on a cliff overlooking a vast gathering of people with a being of light standing in their midst with arms outstretched who said, “I am come amongst my people.” When the slide projector brought me back to reality, I was on my knees sobbing with the incredible beauty of it. I related this to my mother that evening who said she thought it might have been Jesus and advised me (rather wisely) to keep it to myself. Suffice to say, at that time, I had no idea who she was talking about. I kept it to myself mostly because who the hell would I tell it to and why? In 1968, when it occurred, whilst religion existed, we had yet to develop the language of the self and any kind of meaningful spiritual expression. Society in Britain was still dominated by the stiff upper lipped anal retentiveness of post Victorianism and the bigotry and hatred that could punish children for being illegitimate, even when they weren’t. So I tucked it away in a little treasure trove inside, protected from the self righteous cruelty of others. I was learning, slowly.
Of course, this entire journey has taken place in this world on this beleaguered planet, controlled by greed and cruelty, war and oppression, to this day. Caring about life and others is still regarded as weakness and failure, in which a man widely regarded as the best Prime Minister we never had was taken down by the forces of avarice and greed with all the gleefulness and deliberate cruelty of those who hunt fox’s for pleasure.
It is no small matter to embark on a spiritual journey in this world and yet I count every step as blessed, because it has been, and is, an incredible journey into love, kindness and care which I wouldn’t have missed for anything in which the opportunity to develop inner strength is never wanting, because nothing is more wanting in this world than love and kindness because they are the very heart of this spiritual journey called life.
Keith Lindsay-Cameron. 09 January 2021.