Layman John was conducting a Western Zen Retreat at his meditation centre in the Welsh hills. Dr Don, a heart specialist, was attending for the most recent of his several visits. “What question do you wish to explore this time?” asked Layman John. Dr Don replied “This time I will work on ‘What is God?’”
Dr Don set to work coming up with innumerable responses, some intellectual and some heartfelt and some both at the same time. Gifted with an interminable ability for creating new perspectives, he marched through an extraordinary range of ideas intriguing his partners even though they were focusing on their own issues. Layman John despaired lest all his rambling would never cease.
On the final day, Don came for his last interview with the master. “Tell me,” requested Layman John, “what God is.”
Dr Don, smiling quietly, leant forward and replied, “John, I am your friend.”