Memorial Tribute by
I first met Ken in 1987, when he & Gloria kindly met me at Kennedy Airport (on the only afternoon available to us), following my arrival there from London. After much conversation, climaxed by a pleasant supper on City Island, they delivered me to my destination in Westchester County.
Ken always commended kindness as a suitable ACIM "virtue." At this first meeting, I felt completely surrounded by kindness. So I knew early on that Ken & Gloria both practiced this virtue themselves.
Such kindness has not diminished over time. Ken has been exceptionally helpful to me during my subsequent work with the Course. And his willingness to review my first book, making one or two suggestions (seemingly minor ones, but important nevertheless) led to his pithy conclusion that my book was "kosher"!
Earlier, in a short note he commented on the fact that I had not yet written the above-mentioned book, despite the fact that I had been discussing it with him for a long time. He finally wrote to me in what must be the shortest letter I have ever received:
"Write the goddamn book!"
Over the years, Ken has been the Course teacher I have found myself able to fully trust. One reason for this is that, as well as being a wonderful teacher, Ken was a scholar. Of all the Course teachers I have known, he alone had what I regard as a credible knowledge of Christianity, along with other contemporary thought systems—his magisterial Love Does Not Condemn is a masterpiece of erudition and remains the first really scholarly book about the Course (hopefully others will follow as ACIM gains wider acceptance in the academic and ecclesiastical worlds).
Ken's brilliant Course scholarship has been extremely helpful to me personally. As a practicing Anglican (Episcopal) priest who has been committed to the Course teachings for over 30 years, I have come to realize that ACIM and Christianity are essentially incompatible (some will disagree)—again, Ken put it best with another pithy admonition:
"You can't have it both ways, Hugh!"
This advice literally changed the course of my entire ministry in the Church.
Memorial Tribute by
Paul J. Nelson
Notwithstanding a life story as a brilliant author with a prodigious and awe-inspiring literary output, at the time of his death he had a most modest public profile. A unique figure and role model for all who knew him, Dr. Kenneth Wapnick's legacy is not principally for our time.
All who tread this earth, at some level know that the ground we traverse cannot be real. Most of us espouse a belief in a higher reality, and still plod through our lives, paying nominal lip service to a notion that at life's end, we will 'move to a better place.' Ken, as he was known to his students, taught that there is no life's end, as there is no life's beginning. A dream, is a dream, is a dream.
His Teachings were founded on A Course in Miracles. In its own words, a text which purported to be a pathway to Knowledge; in form unique but in content parallel to literally hundreds of true spiritual teachings, any of which if faithfully practiced would remove the student from the illusory trap of the physical universe.
For those who knew Ken, his greatest gift was not the brilliance of his intellect, nor the depth of his writings. His greatest gift was the love without judgment which flowed through him, at all times, in all situations, for all people—even unto all things. He many times said, quite seriously, "Be kind to the chair." The meaning beneath the words is that love or kindness is a state of mind that simply knows no limitation. The mind of the dreamer is in reality part of the One Mind. This is only completely understood when all judgment is forever surrendered as both meaningless and a noose for the judge.
Over decades, centuries and millennia to come, Ken's gift to humanity will be better understood than it is today. For those of us who wish to embrace it now, we have much work to do.
Copyright 2014 - Paul J. Nelson
Memorial Tribute by
Ken was in every way a true teacher of Truth.
I started reading ACIM in about 1987 and did not really understand much of it, I knew though that I had to keep reading as it would really help me.
At first, it was only about relieving my deep level of depression and anxiety life seemed painful and did not make sense. It was not until I heard Ken on a Workshop tape that I first had some understanding of the Course principles. Over the next twenty years plus I listened to Ken almost daily and he took me through a journey of deeper levels of understanding. His ability to convey the Course's teachings in both spoken and written word has been the brightest light shining into my mind to help me on the path to awakening.
I know Ken's books and audio programs will inspire ACIM students for generations to come. His voice will be with me as I awaken from the ego's dream.
My deepest gratitude for his role as teacher and mentor.
Memorial Tribute by
When I first heard that Ken had passed away, it was like someone pulled the rug out from underneath me. My guide, my teacher, my foundation (excuse the pun) for the past twenty-five years was gone. What was I to do? What am I to do? I am sure Ken would tell me it is not about him, but Him. And, of Course, he would be right. I will be forever humble and grateful for Ken's presence and influence in my life.
In loving memory,
Memorial Tribute by
Efrat Sar Shalom
In 1992, I took a group of students to Hararit, a small settlement in the Galilee, for a ACIM retreat. In a place full of plants and forests we came upon Ortho Netofa, a place that was built in July 1967 by Jacob, the monk.
We were walking up the top of the mountain when we saw Ortho. We went inside taking a few steps down into the cave. There was Jacob, the monk, with his beautiful blue eyes, and a smile full of light. We asked if we could pray in this place. He asked who we were, and wanted to know more. I told him that we were students of ACIM. "Oh!" He said " Ken Wapnick was here with me, before he left for the Course."
I had met Ken months before this meeting and now I was wondering could it be a coincidence that we had arrived at this place?
Ken had worked with us, the Hebrew team, and it was such a deep and life changing experience for us all. He did not remember much of his Hebrew, but yes, he knew the difference between Shechina and Ruach- Ha-kodesh, the two terms used for the Holy Spirit in Hebrew.
Ken's precision with the Hebrew translation made us all good students, not only for ACIM, but also for life itself. Ken's life project continues to follow every student of the Course in Israel. The wisdom of the Course was translated into Ken's words and understanding. His way has become our way, in which we walk with gratitude.
I can still see this picture from the translators meeting in Tiburon:
Ken is jumping from one person to another for a greeting, a hug, with laughter, kind words, love, at all times. He seemed to be recognizing each and every one of us.
I was looking at it with amazement. Suddenly I knew. Ken was seeing everyone as Christ.
He was greeting Christ. Thank You Ken for the Love and Light that you are spreading in the World.
Memorial Tribute by
I came into this world tired and discouraged. As a very young child, I knew that this had to be a "turn around" lifetime for me. I needed to find some way to get off of this treadmill "wheel" that I had been going around on for a very long time, going nowhere. I asked for Help, and small points of light were there for me, guiding my way. When the Course fell into my lap, I recognized it immediately as my Path. I worked with it on my own for 11 years, moving forward at a snail's pace, but experiencing tremendous fear and resistance. I needed to see a living example of where this Path was taking me. And then this blazing Light/Help appeared, in the form of Ken. I saw Ken as the sanest, kindest, most functional human being I had ever met, and if this was where this Course was taking me, "sign me up!" He told me that I had tried to "make it through" before and had failed, and that this time he was "not going to let me not make it." The only way that I could be with him and not be terrified was when we were doing our music together, along with Phil, in our broken down Tennanah Lake Trio ("1 professional and 2 cripples!"). I became his teacher of notes and rhythm, and he was my Teacher of Truth. And so we worked/played together. For Phil and I who had exposure to the greatest musicians all over the world, our little trio was the most gratifying musical experience of our lives, and for me, totally terrifying! In 1997, I was presented with
the long (15 year) walk through my own personal "valley of the shadow of death." Ken held my hand and helped me every inch of the way, even when I wasn't sure that I wanted his help. If he hadn't been there, I would have self-destructed and never made it through. But with his help, I slowly began to emerge from the darkness that I had been clinging to for lifetimes, realizing that the pain was a choice and my way of saying I'm right, and God is wrong (if there is God, there is no pain). As I slowly became stronger, Ken moved to the side, but always kept his eye on me, encouraging me and guiding me. In these last years, as we had less frequent external contact, he became heavily integrated with my Inner Teacher. I talked to him every day in my mind and felt his continued presence and guidance. Now that his physical body is no longer available, nothing has changed in terms of his Inner Help presence that's with me. If anything, it only feels stronger. But it is a new chapter now. I'm calling it the "riding without the Ken training wheels" classroom. I am committed to using the tools that he gave me in my daily practice of "playing only the notes on the page in front of me," as he counseled me to do. Ken has been, hands own, the most important and influential figure in my dream, and I am eternally grateful. The only way I know to thank him is to "pass it on."
Memorial Tribute by
Thank you Ken—for teaching me first through your words—and most especially your example—the meaning of Love not of this world. Thank you for teaching me to question every single reaction/perception that I have—which is the route to learning the Answer to "who is the you living in this world?" Thank you for teaching me how not to confuse symbol with source—and how absolutely everything in the illusion of form—including this body and those of my special love/hate partners I so identify with is one big lie! I don't completely believe it—yet—however in observing every reaction/perception that I become aware of—without judgment—including the judgment of my judgment—I am becoming more mindful—softly and gently—at a pace that I as a dreaming split mind can handle. I'm so grateful that I as a decision making mind—wrote you in my script. The image of the symbol of your face in form—and the content of Love that this represents—will remain in my right mind forever—and will make it easier for me to choose once again when needed.
My ongoing tribute and gratitude to you—which of course is for "me"—is to continue to practice—practice—practice—and to observe without judgment when I don't—remembering to be soft and gentle. I am not a guilty sinner—just too frightened to let go of my identity in form except for holy instants/hours/days at a time—yet—with continued practice—this false identity will let go of me. Thanks to you—I trust that.
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