On Thursday 22nd March 1990 John was subjected to an unprovoked physical attack by one of his fellow tutors at the School of Art in Torquay. The motive for the assault was professional jealousy, which had probably arisen from a festering resentment at John's enormous popularity amongst the students at the college. The assailant was the sculpture tutor at the college - a stone-carver with great physical strength - who repeatedly smashed a heavy glass jar into John's head from behind.

This attack was essentially an act of manslaughter, since John never recovered from the damage inflicted. He immediately began to suffer from hypertension and heart palpitations, which ultimately led to enlargement of the heart and his early demise at the age of fifty-two.

"Most men sit dully, like sheep in a field, imagining that 'there's nothing to be done', that everyday reality is a kind of prison from which there is no escape except through drugs, drink or suicide. In fact the doors are open.

The beginning of his 'salvation' are the glimpses of freedom that come in times of crisis or in moments of sudden ecstasy."

I realise that there is either going forward - how far is unknown, or giving up!

I will never give up. I will fight on. I will fight to my last breath. I will try, and paint, and write. I will try to appreciate every moment of my waking consciousness and sleep. I will fight to get amazingly fit - able to walk long distances. Live a full life. Love everything. Never doubt. Never look back in regretfulness.

Blake says that the five senses are the five windows that light the caverned man.

Each time I have a crisis and survive I come out stronger. I have been given a special opportunity to experience fantastic emotion. Ordinary daily routine, with health and everything else in equilibrium, never gives enough thrust to the purity of real creativity - which can only come from the sublimation of not pain, but excruciating agony. For it is I that am reborn in a mode of suffering guaranteed to squeeze out every ounce of my genius.

God has thrust me into the furnace
So that His Divine Fire can shape me
Into a more powerful instrument
Of visionary perception than would
Otherwise have been possible.
In this way He helps me to produce great art.

A realisation has come to me that while I was in very good physical health with no heart problems, penetrating into the temple of pure art expression was all but impossible. If anyone had spelt out that at 48 I would have a totally wrecked heart and full loss of athletic ability, I would have found it almost impossible to conceive - when as a young man I stormed about the universe almost omnipotent!
Now that I have moments gripped with fear of my health I am able to attack the canvas with a purity and lack of inhibition previously impossible. I am aware, as the brush flashes like a rapier, that all the tightness is in my body - but the freed mind flashes onto the plain of the canvas oozing purity, and with an energy that is undimmed by any malaise that I might feel.
Cosmic energy joins and flows through me. It is very exciting and I crave as many years ahead as possible to get on with it.

Beyond Buddhism is a more embracing concept of the cosmos.
I realised it when I asked God to pray for me.