Kenneth Wapnick Memorial Tributes
"From the heart, may it go to the heart."
The following tributes and expressions of gratitude were submitted to the Foundation following the death of Dr. Kenneth Wapnick. While Kenneth's physical presence is no longer with us, his wise, gentle, and loving spirit will forever remain with the Foundation, and with all those whose lives he touched.
February 22, 1942 – December 27, 2013
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Along my journey with A Course in Miracles, Kenneth has been my invaluable companion, the deeply estimated brother and friend, the advanced teacher on whom I can safely count to help me better understand and practice the sublime lessons of forgiveness, love and peace. Along with Jesus', his are the hands that have held mine while walking the path that leads back home. Through his work, his presence in my life helps to continually deepen my comprehension of the Course, as if by his absolute dominion over the content and meaning of the teachings of Jesus, he represents a giant on whose strong shoulders I climb to have a clearer view of the spiritual landscape conveyed by the Course.
Far beyond such importance on a personal level for me, his is a work that has an inestimable significance for humankind. Endowed with an extremely acute intelligence and sensibility, he leaves us a legacy composed of true masterpieces, that stem from the wisest understanding and lived experience of the Atonement.
By getting in touch with his teachings, one can behold a beautiful thing taking place: he is so absolutely in tune with Jesus, he so truly "chose once again" and transcended the ego, that the flow of his discernment pours straight from the Holy Spirit within. And the softness, the gentle kindness are seals that reveal which internal voice is heard and expressed. How soothing to be surrounded by the delicateness. the sweet love and peace that emanates like a heavenly perfume from this brother's presence!
Ken, may the love and the unbounded, eternal gratitude that stream from my heart reach yours! Your light goes on, a powerful beacon in the sky, forever shining strong and bright! Brother, even as I find myself still in the grip of time and the world's illusion, I see I am with you, I regard our Oneness in the loving embrace of our Father in Heaven.
The Holy Spirit goes on whispering gently for our awakening from the dream and, at the Heart of God, will the Son rejoice with the remembrance that never was his home lost, and recognize that not one note in Heaven's song was missed!
From a kindred spirit,
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You came when I cried in my restless sleep
You did not delay, not for an instant
Your beauty brought light to a senseless weep
But how can it be? Were you not distant?
You asked me to learn there is so much more
Than what I have thought was all that I had
That my two plus two is not really four<
That "life" as I "see" could only be sad.
You taught me the world is not what it seems
I thought this nightmare was where you would be
With you now I learn that I dream the dreams
And your gentle eyes watch calmly with me
Where are the tears of sorrow and grief?
Have I not been taught old lessons so well?
We "smile sweetly" at my disbelief
Gratitude the place where my tears dwell.
He was to come in the middle of the wintertime to the land where the cold and white beauty of the snow in stillness await the days of warm light.
As the way he prepared, white cherry tree blossoms were coming to bring their beauty to the land with a strange name where he one day would go, as white as the snow, and to him all just the same.
And then he came, and brought with him the joy of the springtime that only boys long held inside by the bitter cold can learn of its beauty.
Snow and flowers alike learned from him and told of his gracious heart who saw them not as eternal opposites, but only as their white beauty, whose creator he knows to be his own.
And so I took his hand, an artist's hand from which one learns he is himself the Work of Art. It is a place of eternal gratitude and of silence that only the strength of a most loving and gentle teacher could teach.
His hand goes out in softness and kindness to all who now can choose to listen to the timeless gift he offers them with infinite patience; and then they learn to hear the absolute beauty of this forgotten song, like their humble teacher, they will see at last and they will cease to speak.
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Let us commemorate the life and work of Kenneth Wapnick. He was the first teacher of A Course in Miracles, as Judy rightly wrote. Because he was the one who explained even to Helen Schucman what was in her own book, while on another level she understood it very well. Ken was the pivot in the field of the Course, supporting Helen till the end of her life, editing the Course with her, stimulating her to write poems and the Supplements to the Course, preserving her archives and being her biographer. But first and foremost he was the most pure and faithful interpreter of the Course. He has written dozens of books and there are thousands hours of audio and video material which will remain to inspire numerous students in the decades to come, helping them to find their way Home. His spiritual work will gloriously outlive the frailty of his body.
What Ken has achieved for the Course world-wide is phenomenal. He made a fundamental contribution to all of the 24 translations which are published now. Over the years he has answered probably over 15.000 questions of all the translators. Undoubtedly the most asked question among them being: "Where does this 'it' referring to?" We, as the Dutch team, faxed him (there was no email yet) our numbered questions with our proposed answers: could it be a, b, or c? Often we received his answers (1b, 2c, 3a etc.) within 24 hours, which was amazing knowing his very busy schedule and the time difference. He always added some jokes, gentle admonitions and patient explanations. Issues which we as a team were beating our minds out and having lengthy discussions about, he solved in a few seconds, seemingly even without thinking.
Ken had a great mind, he could overview much and do much at the same time. We were sitting in the kitchen in Roscoe, I asking questions about the translation of certain passages, or translating them back for him from the Dutch into the English, so he could hear if all the meaning was still contained in it. Every now and then his right hand Elizabeth Schmit entered the room with urgent matters that needed to be organized, or important papers that needed to be read and signed, and Ken did this fully concentrated in a few minutes, and went on with the translation exactly on the comma we left it. Always loving, even when we said stupid things, always with humor, and always a very good host. Knowing that I was a chocolate lover, he took care that it was within hand's reach.
Ken is without a doubt the best and most pure explainer of the message of the Course, no one else understood the Course as profoundly as he did. Thanks to him we can understand its metaphysics and just for this alone we cannot be grateful enough to him. He was very firm in his complete non-dualistic approach towards the Course. Here he was absolutely without compromise, totally clear, literally a lighthouse, symbol of his Newsletter, attracting others with his light. To us translators he said: "Don't bend the Course to the reader, but bend the reader to the Course." This was always his approach. When there is in the Course a ladder where everyone is helped on the level he thinks he is, leading him towards the next rung, and up to the next and the next, then one can say that Ken is standing at the end of the ladder, encouraging us to climb further, and never tired to explain it again. In this respect he is, as Jesus, an elder brother who is leading us the way. When people asked him if there is anyone who became enlightened by the Course, he said with his usual humor that they kept a secret list of names in the Foundation's safe. Maybe we know now one name on it.
He was a very kind and loving man, he had fully integrated the Course in his mind and life. He was without judgment, even when one could notice that he preferred things otherwise. He was patient with our stupid requests, and patiently let himself be photographed with anyone who asked, smiling. He remained friendly and calm, giving himself. When he entered a room, for instance Roscoe's classroom, where an audience of over hundred people were waiting for his lectures, he seemed to know exactly who was in need of a hug, a touch, a kind or joking word. For the person involved always an healing experience.
This direct contact is not possible anymore. And his long awaited book on Freud, Jung and the Course will probably never be published.… But his work will continue, not only in his numerous books, CDs, DVDs and audiotapes, but mainly in the countless many who he touched with his shining example. As Judy wrote in her In memoriam : "Ken devotedly fulfilled his function and we know he will continue to do so, teaching, guiding and inspiring us all to journey along this path."
Let us honour and thank him, and let us end with paraphrasing a short poem he wrote for Helen, at the end of Absence from Felicity , being his wording of Helen's last journey, which we now can use for him:
Now is Ken's most holy purpose done.
For he has come. For he has come at last.
Into Christ's Presence has he entered now,
And be us glad and grateful it is so.
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My soul sings thank you to Kenneth, who used the uplifting spirit of music to lift us all up into the arms and continuous song we sing as One in Heaven.
Twenty-two years ago my new partner Muriel, asked if I wanted to study the ACIM with her. I had heard of it, and I said yes. We started and I was captivated by the phrase, "a healed mind." Whatever that was, a healed mind, I knew I wanted it.
When a major illness came upon me a few years later, I felt abandoned by God. The illness, fibromyalgia has been with me since, as I enter my 60ieth birthday. I suffered and studied, why was this happening, where is God in this. Ten years of intense study of the course I thought I had some understanding, until I read Gary Renard's book, The Disappearance of the Universe, and I realized my understanding was so limited. Arten and Pursah said in that book that Ken Wapnick was the principle teacher, and would be for over the next 500 years.
I took note, and began a journey with Ken in 2004 in which I have spent a minimum of 1 hour a day in reading or listening to his material. Countless times Ken took me out of my ego perspective and interpretation of the course, into it's true meaning of how I am only mind in the Mind of God and that I as a decision maker, wanted the separation from God, and it is my choice through the miracle of forgiveness to return my dreaming mind to God's, where I, as the One Son of God never left.
I have read other material, and have studied some Buddhism, but I always come back to ACIM, and Kenneth. He is the teacher that I consistently pick up, and will continue to do so.
In my mind Ken is completely joined with Jesus. I smile to myself when he is commented on Jesus' teachings, "What Jesus means is......". I have marvelled over the years at his deep understanding of the course, and his deep love for Jesus and God.
In my mind I have joined Jesus and Kenneth, and see them both smiling, nodding their One Head, and inviting me to merge into the Great Oneness and Love we share. My principle teacher with Jesus has and is Kenneth, so my depth of gratitude and love reaches beyond this world to the place they continuously sing from to us all.
I feel this same love and gratitude for Gloria, knowing that they have shared the journey together, as well for all of the staff and teachers at the foundation. Thank you all so much for your love and dedication. You have made a difference in my life that words cannot express.
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I am very sorry to hear that Ken Wapnick had left his body behind.
I remember Ken not only as a very kind person, but also as a clear teacher of A Course in Miracles.
In the early nineties I met him in a workshop he gave in my country (Holland) and I remember him explaining the metaphysics so clearly that I could understand it very well.
All his books I read, lately Healing The Unhealed Mind, helped me along my path as a student and as teacher of ACIM and a teacher of God. I am deeply grateful for all he did for me and for the world as the very first teacher of God.
And I also know that he will continue to inspire and guide us all.
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Your articles, commentaries and books, removed layers of veils.
Your understanding, humility and acceptance, gave me god's speed.
Your deep insight and symbol interpretation, humbled me.
Your view on the death merely as a transformed symbol, gave me hope.
Love and peace,
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Though I never had the good fortune to meet him in person, I think of Ken as a much-loved mentor. The announcement of his death was a shock, but I know that he hasn't gone away. I'll continue to talk to him in my mind often, just as before. It may even be that communication will be better.
I first contacted Ken by letter several years ago. I wanted to write essays and books about ACIM, and needed to know if my thinking was on the right lines. I'd hate to mislead anyone. My great interest is the uniqueness of the Course, while keeping in mind that it's not the only path to awakening. There was only one person in the world I trusted for advice.
Very kindly, Ken answered my letters without delay, with encouragement and reassurance. What a blessing! Two words in capitals have stayed firmly in my mind—"DON'T STOP!"
I've been a student of ACIM for over twenty years, but only began to really understand it after reading Ken's books. I feel great gratitude for all his dedicated years of teaching expressed in his many books, and for the lovely model of personal interaction shown in the workshop videos.
When I began to study the Course, I followed just the Workbook—not knowing that wasn't the best method. Now that I have Ken's Journey Through the Workbook, I can understand much better how the Workbook fits with the Text. Insights such as the poetic use of "loose language" were essential to me. Even my first solitary year was one of startling revelations—now with Ken's books revelations have become bombshells (Ken's own word!).
For all this help and more, I think of Ken with much love and gratitude.
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I never met a truly selfless person before Ken. He rarely spoke about himself, but demonstrated the impersonal life, fully identifying with the Atonement, and the common purpose we share. He was always truly present with each of us, as we felt his peace, wisdom, and unconditional love for us. Humorous, Humble, and Happy, along with all the qualities of an advanced Teacher of God, Ken was impeccable in his thoughts, words, and deeds. He wasn't special, He was Holy.
He gave us his all wholeheartedly, fulfilling his function perfectly, so that he could bow out gracefully, to encourage the Christ in us to continue the work. We agreed to go through time together to remember Eternity, Truth, Love, and the Peace of God. Here's to the sacred communion that forever dwells at home in our heart and to the Love between the words.
I love you. Thank you.
Memorial Tribute by
David Louis DeFebo
Eternity in the twinkling of the eye
One day I found myself going to lunch with Ken and about 10 others. As Ken was pulling up his chair directly across from me our eyes locked for a moment. A kind of a twinkle in his eye connected with mine and I experienced a sense of the infinite. In that micro-second in which everything disappeared, all was eternity; this has stayed with me hence forth. I will be forever grateful to Ken for his love and extending the twinkle.
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When I first met Ken in 1981, even in my wildest imagination I could not have predicted that he and I would spend thirty years in a partnership dedicated to translations of A Course in Miracles. However, before that joining began seven years later, meetings in Crompond, Roscoe, New York and California buoyed my deep sense of respect for the intellectual courage, clarity of thought, abiding spirit of inquiry and limitless energy that seemed to sustain Ken and Gloria. If the ambiguity of Shakespearean English sentences ever baffled me, I always felt confident that I could rely on Ken's scholarship for the correct meaning.
In 1988 we signed the first contract to translate the Course into Spanish. As if by an intuitive message from Holy Spirit, my relationship with Ken was immediately challenged by the need to combine our strengths for this new adventure. Our division of labor seemed clear. I would manage the process of selecting and negotiating contracts with translators and publishers. He would teach translators the meaning of the Course and answer questions. Together we would evaluate candidate translators and their work.
Through the next quarter of a century, Ken often listened to my proposals to translators and publishers about "prudent" work schedules and payments, printing formats, color of covers, copyright protection, number of copies in a first edition and so forth. Over time, we began to evaluate the complexity of each such issue with a grade: the number of "Oy Veys" it deserved.
Above all, we needed to discover new levels of patience. We learned that each translation required at least five years from selection of a translator to publication of the work. Thanks to Ken's experience with new students, his patience and kindliness were already mature. My long experience in government with translations and people management had taught me ways to evaluate the work. Our occasional disagreements challenged both of us to rise above the battleground and practice forgiveness. Thus did our collaboration foster our friendship and my deep confidence not only in Ken's understanding of the Course but also in his commitment to its practice when we faced complex decisions.
In October 2012, we met with twenty-one translators in Tiburon, California. Ken and Gloria helped inspire a three-day mood of incomparable spiritual harmony and joy. I like to think that Ken's central message to all of us reflected the lessons that he had learned from the translation experience. He said, "A translation is a great achievement. But you will not understand the Course until you learn to practice and apply it." Little did we know that this would be Ken's personal farewell to most translators. Less than a year later, he began to address physical challenges in this world of dreams.
"How would Ken react to this issue?" remains an intrinsic habit. In my mind I continue to have periodic discussions with him about the fundamental dilemma of any translation, especially the Course. How could we help a translator find a balance between accuracy and fluency? Word for word accuracy would certainly ruin fluency; misplaced fluency would surely sacrifice accuracy. Long familiar with Ken's forgiving compassion for translators who faced that dilemma daily, I will be forever grateful for his social and intellectual partnership, which sustained our uncompromising commitment to preserve the Course's content while having to change its form.