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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My thoughts are with you! Please see below what 1 like to express to Ken, and all of you.
Ken, you have been the sane part of my mind. To me ... You saved my life! I hear you say "What life?!" I am eternally grateful for your gift you have given to the Sonship. I now return that to others and with that .. I am awakening.
I am also thankful that I could tell you this in person when I met you in person last year in November 2012.
Memorial Tribute by
Lynne R. Matous
Remembering Ken Wapnick
A Teacher of God and of A Course in Miracles, Ken Wapnick was "here only to be truly helpful." (T- 2.V.18:2)
Working ceaselessly in service to Truth, he amassed a truly amazing volume of clear Course teachings, making understandable any passage that might seem puzzling to students. His clear and consistent teachings exposed the working of the ego's thought system. Ken elucidated the profound Course statement "I am never upset for the reason I think" (W-5). No matter what may seem to be the "cause" of my upset (something said or done by another or some seemingly external occurrence); whenever I am upset, it is always because I have chosen in the "now" moment to set aside the Peace of God, the Oneness of the Sonship. I am upset because I have chosen to see myself as separate from my brother (in whatever form he may seem to have taken in that moment).
Ken helped Course students with the daily living of Course principles when interacting with others. He stressed the importance of kindness in all situations. And to help overcome an ego-centric view when relating to others, Ken suggested a concept he called "making it about them"— considering the needs and viewpoint of the seemingly "other" person, rather than acting or reacting from the needs and desires of one's own ego- self Ken always "made it about others," not himself, turning no one away who asked him for help and literally embracing everyone who attended his classes or entered his life.
The first time I met Ken (around 2008), we had traveled to Atlanta to attend his workshop and arrived at the conference hall somewhat early. As I approached the classroom, a man seated near the entrance in deep conversation with several people close to him, arose quickly, upon seeing me, to give me a welcoming hug, as if I were a family member or close friend. As I walked away, I thought—who was that man? And then I realized it was Ken Wapnick, a Teacher of God who left no one out and embraced everyone.
He gave the "last full measure of devotion" to Truth. In the days before his transition, Ken insisted that he was not dying. And, of course, he was not dying and could not die because, as he made so clear in his week-long academy class on "death and dying," the body cannot die since it never lives— and more importantly— he was not the body. Ken's life and teachings rest on the firm foundation of the Course principle:
"Spirit am I, a holy Son of God, free of all limits, safe and healed and whole, free to forgive, and free to save the world." (W-97.7:2)
So, although we feel sad at Ken's passing from our earthly sight, we also feel blessed and uplifted by his loving presence in Spirit that cannot be taken from us. We can feel his love with us (the joint Love of the Sonship) and know that we are one with him in Mind/Spirit, His victory is our victory, and we honor him most by living the Holy Spirit's teaching that he exemplified.
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Now, my eulogy for Ken, my life-long friend:
If I am a soothsayer and full of that soothsaying spirit which wanders on a high ridge between two seas, wandering like a heavy cloud between past and future, an enemy of all sultry plains and all that is weary and can neither die nor live—in its dark bosom prepared for lightning and the redemptive flash, pregnant with lightning bolts that say Yes and laugh. Yes, soothsaying lightning bolts—blessed is he who is thus pregnant! And verily, long must he hang on the mountains like a dark cloud who shall one day kindle the light of the future: Oh, how should I not lust after eternity and after the nuptial ring of rings, the ring of recurrence?.... For I love you, O Eternity. For I love you, O Eternity! From The Seven Seals or: The Yes and Amen Song, again by F. Nietzsche (Thus Spake Zarathustra, Third Part, p. 340, The Portable Nietzsche , Walter Kauffman, trans.).
Memorial Tribute by
Ben and Miryam
Perhaps Helen's poem "With Thanks" sums up our feelings of gratitude for the loving influence Ken still has on our lives today:
"No one can know just what his part will mean
When God from little lights completes a star
From what we give to Him. Each is unseen
Until the other parts from near and far
Are joined by Him into a form that He
can use to light the darkness....."
Peace be to us all.
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And finally, there is "a period of achievement." It is here that learning is consolidated. Now what was seen as merely shadows before become solid gains, to be counted on in all "emergencies" as well as tranquil times. Indeed, the tranquility is their result; the outcome of honest learning, consistency of thought and full transfer. This is the stage of real peace, for here is Heaven's state fully reflected. From here, the way to Heaven is open and easy. In fact, it is here. Who would "go" anywhere, if peace of mind is already complete? And who would seek to change tranquility for something more desirable? What could be more desirable than this? (M-4.I.A.8)
When my long time pal Florian and I decided to sign up for the week long academy in August 2012, we made a great choice. As it turned out, it was the only workshop taught by Ken Wapnick I could attend. Nevertheless Ken and I had become what I would call "close" in a series of typed and mailed letters (no unspiritual emails here ), which were sent back and forth since April 2012. The experiences at the workshop and the ongoing, constant contact to Ken after it led me to think about applying for a leave of absence the first time about one year ago to spend a year in Temecula. I wanted to learn, laugh and be around my "personal Parmenides" (as I sometimes call him) for a longer, continuous time, "bother" him (as we called it) on a daily basis. One thing led to another, and when I finally in February 2013 was ready to make another phone call and tell Ken "yes, I will be coming in September 2013, let's do this," he replied: "That's wunderbar, Andi! Don't change your mind! Don't change your mind!"
I didn't. The first time it took me a couple of seconds after having found out about his cancer just a couple of days before my departing in September. The second time, when I woke up to return after a 3 week—Christmas break at home in Germany and saw 6 messages on my cell about Ken's passing, it didn't take one anymore. "Don't change your mind!" "My" teacher has taught me well.
Now, there is work to do. Work which won't always be "pleasant," but never will be hard, given all the help that is provided and the purpose of these efforts. I'm looking forward to being back in Temecula, meeting the people there again, being around the Foundation. Of course I will miss the chance to "see" Ken Wapnick there in person, in his body with his trademark smile and hugs, to get crazy about "our" beloved Greeks, tease and tickle each other. But at the same time there will be no lack of him, since the "he" that he really was, was and is not dying.
If there is any time or date for this, it might be this one. On my "second anniversary" with the Course I express in this form my deepest gratitude, my happiness, and my love for and to Ken Wapnick. What is behind this form here needs not to be expressed, because it cannot. It is known and does neither have a date nor a name. He has achieved everything that the quote above speaks about. Last but not least, to show all of us who knew, know and will know him, that we are able to achieve the same. In complete accordance with the Course he totally had become one with. Talking about true "intimacy," which is the title of one of his outstanding workshops. All that is left to do, is accept his teaching, the Course's teaching for ourselves to stop "with the baby business," as Ken called it many times. Simple, but not easy. There is a "period of unsettling," then there is one of "achievement." It does not have to be in that order, since there is no linear time, but it is highly probable that we just can't skip or gloss over the unsettling part to directly hurl into a state of constant peace of mind. Yet, achieving the latter is doable. Ken did it, and if one thing is certain in this world: he was not "special".
It is great to have known you (PRESENT perfect), mein lieber Freund!
And, yes: I got it.
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A Tribute to Dr. Kenneth Wapnick
In 1980, I felt led to A Course in Miracles, and believed that it would provide meaning for me, in what seemed to be a meaningless existence. Having purchased the books however, I was mystified as to what it was saying. It just seemed like a lot of Christian mumbo jumbo.In Vancouver Canada, at that time, I discovered that the minister of the Unity church at that time, was also studying the Course, and hoped he might help in my understanding. In one of their meetings, I met a woman who said that she was planning on a trip to Bellevue, Washington, for a workshop on the Course, and the main speaker was Dr. Kenneth Wapnick. And even though I couldn't go at that time myself, I asked her that if they did tape the workshop, would she purchase a set of tapes for me. Which she did, and I later got and listened to.
Over and over again in that workshop Kenneth stressed how the Course was not on becoming more spiritual, but on learning how to forgive.
In the next year or two, both Ken and Gloria, gave a workshop in Burnaby (a suburb of Vancouver) on the Course. I attended and was touched by Ken's devotion to the Course and also to his wife, Gloria.
As I had done the Workbook lessons in 1981, and while studying the text as well, I began to think that this was not going to work for me, because my husband showed absolutely no interest in the Course. He did not mind me doing it, but just did not want to be involved in it himself. It was then that I wrote to Ken about my problem: Below is part of his response to me:
I think I can answer almost all of your questions by pointing out the problem is confusing our famous two levels. Since there is no world out there in form, there can be no person out there either. Everything we perceive and experience in the physical world is nothing but a dreamlike projection of what is only within our minds, just as when we dream we understand on awakening that none of the events in the dream was "real." Thus it would make no sense for us to practice forgiveness with another person physically present in our lives, since again there <is> no person physically present). What it does mean, however, is that within the illusion of relationships involving the body, we must change our mind because it is in the physical relationship that our mind is stuck. Whether a person is physically present in our lives or not is irrelevant, since it is the <thought> of the person that is the issue, and it is that thought that needs to be changed.
So, Martha, you do not have to be in an "actual" relationship with someone to practice forgiveness. Your husband's not being interested in the Course of anything spiritual is hardly relevant to your practicing the Course, except in the sense that his non-interest would probably make him the ideal learning partner for you, so that you can learn the difference between form and content; i.e., spirituality has nothing whatsoever to do with form, but with an attitude of joining. And for you that attitude needs only be changed within <your> mind, because for you there is nothing else.
On one level the Course was written for Helen and Bill, to help them heal their relationship, and it is helpful to remember that context as one reads the material. However, the relationship that had to be healed existed within the mis-perceptions that existed within their individual minds; once healed, they would remember that their minds were indeed not individual at all. The "joint collaboration," however, ultimately does not require the conscious joining of two people, for this would merely make one person's salvation dependent on the decision made by another, which of course is directly counter to the whole thinking of the Course.
On a deeper level, the fact that your husband is your husband is an expression of his having joined with you to learn lessons, whether he is conscious of this or not. Thus, his conscious collaboration is totally unnecessary for your Atonement path, because remember he does not exist outside of your mind anyway. That is why a student of the Course has to keep in mind the integration of the two levels. Also, a holy relationship is not an entity, but a process whereby an individual (in the context of a perceived relationship) invites the Holy Spirit's help to heal his or her mind.
That and other letters he wrote to me, truly helped me, and I still treasure them.
In 2001, along with a friend, I attended the 25th Anniversary of the Course's coming out in Anaheim, California. We sat directly behind Kenneth and Gloria. Kenneth was one of the main speakers, for that week-end. Once again, as I had been almost 20 years before, I was moved by Ken's devotion to the Course, and to his wife Gloria. It was wonderful to observe.
No one else has helped me in sticking with the Course and it's teachings, as much as Ken has, and I am truly grateful for this kind and loving man and for all he gave, and taught.
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Appreciating the closeness of a dear teacher in the Oneness of Spirit.
Thoughts conveyed of a higher leading, received and held in mind, expressed through a teaching model, are limitless. In their sharing, they are magnified exponentially.
Kenneth (affectionately thought of as "Ken") was and is such a teaching model. Rather like the metaphor of a comet that leaves a trail of light, such is his effect as a teacher, an earthly brother and friend, a way-shower, a manifest example of vision attained through a willingness to allow and follow a higher leading. His charitable, bold clarity offered his fellow students an adjunct pronouncement of ACIM teachings, helping us to not only see but to contrast our meaningless projections of self-assigned "guilt" as an invented, fearful, transparent identity against the Truth of our Inheritance as the extension of Perfect Innocence immutable, free from fear's chaotic script and returned to the quiet, radiant calm of inner Peace.
The reflection we knew as "Ken" cannot be "gone" from any of us when what he represented and shared remains as an extending integrated awareness, the gift of an ongoing teaching presence being one of content rather than "form". I recognize that the one we identified as "Ken" entered into awareness in a teaching "form" in answer to a mindful (though perhaps unrecognized) call for help.
I happened on a quote a long while back: "When you have come to the edge of all the light that you know and are about to step into the darkness of the unknown ... Faith is believing that one of two things will happen—That there will be something solid to stand on—Or, you will be taught how to fly." Twenty-two years ago, I found myself teetering on that very edge trying to find some kind of "balance;" and ACIM and Ken all but dropped into my lap!
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I would say that Ken was so beautiful—a beauty that you could feel with your heart, as he gave you compassion, acceptance and hope. I will miss him so much and love him forever, although it seems that everything that made him what he was, that made him so beautiful was his knowledge of the sameness of everything.
I am thankful to Ken for teaching us the real meaning of ACIM and for showing us the gentleness, the patience and the love of the right mind.
I once said to him that I didn't know how to thank him for all his help in turning my life around, in turning myself around—he said the way I am is thanks enough. It seems that would be the best way to thank him and share his beautiful gift and blessing with all the others in our lives.
Memorial Tribute by
Your Faithful Student
Over the years, I have written you so many letters asking for your help with life's classrooms. Even though most of my letters didn't come easily to me, you always encouraged me to continue with the effort. I am so grateful I did. Now, I really need your encouragement once again to write this tribute to you, because I'm certain I don't have it in me to do it alone.
When I reflect upon on our early years, I wasn't quite sure what to do with you, as you were like no one I'd ever known. So, 1 did what any healthy ego would do—I tried to argue with you, to prove you wrong, and to push you away. I was continually met by your firm, but loving, defenselessness. Of course, this just upped my ego's ante, but my antics had no effect upon you. You continued to demonstrate pure and unconditional love towards me in ways that I had never experienced. Your consistent and non-judgmental manner— whenever I took what you called a "detour"— was unwavering, You helped me learn to forgive myself of my past and to understand that my "sins" were just mistakes. You stood strong by my side, as I waded into the deep end of the pool of special relationships. In so doing, you taught me how to heal one of my most difficult relationships—the one with my Mother. As our roles have reversed over time, I can truly love her, thanks to your teachings and guidance.
As my teacher, you embodied everything you taught in A Course in Miracles. You demonstrated through your words, by your actions, and by your very essence that there is indeed. another way to live in this world, peacefully, and the Course offers that way. Even in your. death, you continue to teach me that I can interpret such a loss differently. Your death is a classroom for me to team that You were never your body, but, a reflection of love in this world that my mind translated into a body; and, we have only been, and continue to be, communicating at the level of the mind. I wish I could report that I have learned that lesson, but, as of today, I have not. Kenneth, I miss your hugs, your voice, your smile, and your physical presence in my life. In time, I trust that the love I feel in my heart for you and the love that you feel for me will lessen the pain of my perceived loss. The most I can promise you, at this point, is I will continue to do the work with the goal to experience that shift.
My unending gratitude extends not only to you, but, to your, wife, Gloria. The dedication and commitment you both have had for the Course seemed to even transcend the love you have for each other. Without Gloria's foresight in creating the Foundation as a vehicle for your teaching, I, as well as your many, many other students would not be the beneficiaries of your wisdom and love. In addition, the support and tireless devotion of the Foundation Staff have helped to make all of this possible.
Kenneth, I will never, ever forget you. How can I? You will always remain in my heart and mind. My final tribute to you will be to "teach that you did not die in vain, but to teach rather that you did not die by demonstrating that you live in me." To do this, I will need your help to choose differently; I have no doubt that you will. be there for me... as my teacher, my friend. As in our brief past, all I have to do is just ask.
In gratitude and love,
Your faithful student
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"How many teachers of God are needed to save the world? The answer to this question is—one. One wholly perfect teacher, whose learning is complete, suffices." (Manual for teachers, p. 31.)
This was Kenneth Wapnick.
What are the characteristics of God's teachers? Trust, Honesty, Tolerance, Gentleness, Joy, Defenselessness, Generosity, Patience, Faithfulness, Open-mindedness. (Manual for teachers, pgs 9-16)
This was Kenneth Wapnick.
A student of the Course for 30 years, I was still somewhat confounded until I went to hear Ken at an academy class. I left everyday with joy because I understood every word he said. "the light in one awakens it in all." (T-21.I.10:6) When watching him at the recess come up behind his wife Gloria and put his arms around her and lean his head on her shoulder, God came rushing into my heart with gratitude for this example of his love. I know in my heart that he was carried home on peaceful wings of love