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
Memorial Tribute by
Fred T. Estabrook
Tribute to Dr. Kenneth Wapnick
On August 18th 1980 I set down the glass containing my last drink. Within a month I was opening the Text of A Course in Miracles for the first time. The Foundation for Inner Peace in Tiburon, CA had sent me the 7th printing, 3-volume set, free of charge after I wrote them a letter describing my somewhat desperate circumstances while expressing a sincere interest in the Course described in a Psychology Today article. I was at that time what you would call a reluctant Buddhist having studied and tried many other belief systems finding them all too easy to discredit and discount. Buddhism was going to have to suffice, that is, until I began to read the Course. As soon as I read the words of the Course I recognized it was telling me what I already knew but could never clearly comprehend nor express. My spiritual path from that point on was directed solely by A Course in Miracles and the AA program.
I began following Ken's guidance a short time later. The first seminar taught by Ken I attended was at Edgar Cayce's Association for Research and Enlightenment in Virginia Beach in the summer of 1984. I continued to attend his seminars during the summers in Roscoe, NY and since retiring from Ithaca College, I've made two trips to Temecula and am looking forward to another academy class there in March. I own and have studied every book Ken has written. I've also been receiving The Lighthouse newsletter since its inception and have kept them all. So from the start, my Course in Miracles curriculum has been integrated with
Ken's teaching and guidance.
If he were to read this he would say emphatically, "Fred, it's not about you and it's not about me. It's not about the details. It's not about the form. It's all about the content, the melos behind the form. Stop with the baby business!" As he stated in his recent publication, When 2+2=5 "A Course in Miracles is no different from any other book. All that is important is the Voice reflected in the blue book. The Voice, not the form, is the only meaningful factor." Also, as Ken pointed out in the December 2013 Lighthouse newsletter, " .. .it may be helpful to have an external teacher as a temporary stand-in for the real One as long as such a person is at least "slightly ahead" of the pupil. Such a help may indeed be almost mandatory in helping students discern the true Voice from the false one." Ken fulfilled this role with near perfection for many thousands of students. He taught kindness by example. He was my one and only Course in Miracles teacher and although I didn't spend very much time with him personally, I know he wouldn't mind me calling him a true friend. Ken knew the Love that is the Source of the material we studied together. Thus he was able to point us toward that Love, that Truth, so effectively. I'll never be able to thank Ken adequately for all the gifts he gave. I will remember him always with pure gratitude.
Memorial Tribute by
Thank you, Foundation for ACIM staff, for the opportunity to share this: My tribute to Kenneth Wapnick
Kenneth Wapnick is for me that expression of perfect clarity and lucid awareness that is really within me. When I was in his presence at a workshop, my experience was of this amazing lucidity and awakeness. All the clouds of confusion and obscuration simply dispersed, dissipated and completely disappeared. The same occurred and still occurs when I listen to him on a CD or a DVD, but now it has been dawning upon me, since his death in physical form, that the clarity is in me. I resonated to his clarity, because his clarity and insight and awakeness is really my own inner truth.
I am in the process of increasingly embracing that truth of clarity and lucidity within my own mind and heart. It actually still frightens me to accept that responsibility for clarity in myself, but Ken is now really even more with me, because of his being gone in form. He always brought it back to those he spoke to, to be the light of this path, primarily by being willing to be utterly honest with myself, look at every dark thought and feeling and bring it to the light of Christ within myself. He always emphasized that Jesus never demands we be perfect. Rather he wants us to be honest and look without guilt or judgment at what we've placed as blocks to Love's presence. What else needs forgiveness but the obstacles and illusions I've raised as barriers to Love? What else am I here for but:
Manual For Teachers, Page 61: "Do not despair then because of limitations. It is not your function to escape from them, but not to be without them." Don't deny what you feel. Just don't justify them.
Text, Page 355: "Trust not your good intentions ... concentrate only on this (the minds little willingness) and be not disturbed by the shadows around it. That is why you came."
This, and also his emphasis that the teaching and practice of the Course is never about changing the world or healing the body, but of healing our mind of the one sickness known as our belief in tithe unholy trinity of sin, guilt and fear," that are Ken's ongoing gifts to me. He is very alive in my heart and in my mind, "a child, a man and a spirit" (as one of Helen's poetic birthday presents lovingly honoring Ken expresses) of beauty, blessing, honesty and gentle loving humor and kindness. He was unequivocal when it came to explaining the truth of what the Course is really saying, and he was equally as accepting of other's interpretations and paths.
Something I wrote a while back about Jesus and the Course, goes equally well for expressing my love and gratitude for Ken:
"I am struck by seeing how accessible the Course is and gentle its approach, meeting us where we believe we are—in the duality of "me" and "other" and "me" and "everything else." Krishnamurti always spoke as from "the top of the ladder" and, like Advaita Vedanta, you either "get it" or not. With ACIM you are led in a blessed learning process to where learning and process have no reality. I feel such delicious gratefulness for Jesus being with me (and for Ken for being his and the Course's living embodiment) showing me that he and I are no different and that he and I and everyone is the one ego in illusion and the one Son of God, Christ, in reality. With him comes infinite clarity, patience, kindness; non-judgment, encouragement, forgiveness and love. What more could I ask for?
"Really and truly, what more could I ask for?"
Respectfully and lovingly,
Memorial Tribute by
Dear Gloria and Foundation Staff,
I just wanted to write a note to all of you to thank you for your dedication and teaching of the Course, along with Ken, these past 20 years of my life.
I was also deeply saddened by Ken's death and will miss his comforting presence in the world dream. But I know that this is also an opportunity to continue to develop my trust in the Love within me and my Self, aside from my ego's need for a specific presence of love in this world, which Ken certainly was for me.
The Course and all of your teaching and classes have helped me enormously in my life and to own my own mind in the process. Although I have some bumps and setbacks along the way and some fear of going further, I carry on.
I am deeply grateful for the time I spent at the Foundation in New York State and for your commitment, honesty and support in helping me learn the Course and its' application to my personal life.
Thank you for this.
Memorial Tribute by
Tribute to Ken
Ken has been the most important and influential person I have had in my life the last 20 years or so.
I have always had the utmost trust and respect for him more than anyone else I have met in my lifetime.
Ken taught me so much it is difficult to even describe all of this.
From him, I have learned to be aware of my ego and to look at it all without so much judgment and fear. I have also learned I indeed have a right mind and to trust in this more. Ken's loving, kind and encouraging presence in my life has allowed me to trust more in the Loving Presence within me and confirmed for me that I am truly a mind, who can choose how I want to see this world, myself and the seeming darkness of things within and without.
Through the Course and Ken's teaching I have more peace and have at least partially let go of unforgiveness in many relationships. The Course and Ken's wisdom has truly helped me understand the nature of the world, that I always felt deeply inside and to have hope in the midst of challenges, increasing my faith that there is another way of being in this lifetime.
While I am still on a journey with all that I have learned and integrated, I remain deeply grateful for Ken's teaching of the Course and his abiding presence in my life. The best way to thank him truly seems to be to trust in the inner Love more and more and to demonstrate this in my life as much as possible.
Memorial Tribute by
Linda and I were truly heartbroken at the hearing of Kenneth's passing.
I want you to know that Kenneth was in our hearts every day while he was on this earth and
he will continue to be for all time.
Knowing and meeting the both of you has been one of our life's most beautiful highlights.
I don't know what else to say other than I love you both and always will.
Memorial Tribute by
My Rock Star.
My first personal contact with Kenneth occurred sometime around 1993.
Having been introduced to A Course in Miracles circa 1987, I had fallen in love with its content and was concerned that perhaps I would say something inaccurate about what this book was teaching.
Because of this fear, I sent Kenneth a letter asking if there was some kind of "accreditation" that one could get with A Course in Miracles so that one would be less likely to say something contrary to its teachings.
Within a week of my mailing I received back from Kenneth a letter kindly informing me that such a certificate did not exist and that he wished me blessings on my journey with A Course in Miracles.
I was so excited to get the letter back from him that I did not care about the fact that there was no accreditation provided for A Course in Miracles. I was delighted because for me Kenneth was my Rock Star, and to just have something tangible from him even if it was only a letter, felt good.
After getting his response I continued my study with A Course in Miracles, while at the same time I virtually read every book Kenneth wrote and listen to every audio tape he produced. I even got the chance to attend a couple of his workshops in Roscoe NY with my sister Linda. I recall being captivated with the man, so much so, that it took every nerve I had just to say hello to him in person—remember he was my Rock Star.
Over time, as I continued to listen to Kenneth speak about what A Course in Miracles was saying, I decided that I would produce a documentary about the nature of Love and human relationships and I knew I would want Kenneth to be a part of it.
So I sent him another letter.
I was having lunch with my sister a few weeks later when my cell phone rang and it was Kenneth at the other end. He simply introduced himself with what I found to be his beautiful mild stutter and said, "Hello Rick, this is Kenneth Wapnick, I received your letter," needless to say I was beside myself with excitement.
When Kenneth agreed to be part of my film, I remember thinking that many would want him to be involved in their projects as well, and so I asked him why he agreed to be part of mine. Again, with a simplicity that seemed to permeate his entire being he easily told me that it seemed like the natural thing to do.
For some reason, I didn't ask him to explain further.
As the film progressed I found it a bit amusing that all those being interviewed wanted a list of questions beforehand, yet when I asked Kenneth if he wished me to email him a list of questions he replied gently, "No that is not necessary, but you can send them to me if you would like to." I should have anticipated his response because for Kenneth there were no questions about Love or human relationships of which he was not prepared to shed light on.
During the post-production period of the film, I was able to join for breakfast Gloria and Kenneth at the Mount Kisco Diner in Westchester county NY. As I entered this crowded diner with my Rock Star and his wife, it seemed odd to me that no one there was aware of whom I had just walked in with.
Yes, Kenneth was an unassuming man and anyone reading this tribute likely knows enough about specialness to understand that the lack of applause as Kenneth entered the diner with me was exactly the way he would have preferred it.
When my film Love's Journey was completed, Kenneth agreed to be part of my anticipated next film, which ironically was about death and dying. Unfortunately I never got to film him for it and I feel slightly haunted by this seeming miss-step.
In Kenneth's workshop on Death & Dying during a question and answer period, a lady commented that she was worried about the day that Kenneth would one day die, and I suspect that she was expressing a fear many of us felt.
Kenneth's lovely response was to remind her that he had simply become a symbol of Love to her and that one-day when he exits this world, another symbol of love will take his place.
Indeed Kenneth was a symbol of Love to many of us and like A Course in Miracles, the presence of love that one would experience anytime we were near him was palpable.
I'm not ashamed to say that I cried privately about Kenneth's passing. To me, he was the third spoke of the trinity that consisted of Helen Schucman and Bill Thetford. He helped me to understand A Course in Miracles in a way that would have likely taken many years longer to have done so without him.
I loved this man and dare I say it, but I feel special to have known him. Love indeed is expressed in many forms and for me; Kenneth was just that. He was Love reflected here in this world and I will carry the warmth of his light for the rest of my days.
Memorial Tribute by
Now that you are free and we here to mourn our loss we can only think of you with deep gratitude for illuminating the path so brightly, so succinctly and so beautifully.
Remembering so fondly on our visits to Temecula (far fewer than I would have liked) your kindness and patience in generously offering your wisdom for our many questions as we attempted to decipher the Course. And lest we get too serious about it, there were always jokes and a little teasing to lighten up our silly consternation. (And who could forget the "blue dot!")
As you have now-assumedly-joined again with Helen and Bill, in our limited way we think of you enjoying the freedom, reveling in the reunion and continuing to shine the light for the rest of us.
We join your family in sending love, admiration and deep appreciation for who you have been in our lives. Thank you from the bottom of my heart.
So much love.
Memorial Tribute by
I only met you once during an Academy class in Temecula but from my heart, I miss you. I will miss the manifestation of your presence.
I was not ready for the Course in 1992 when a friend put the book in my hands. I was raised in the Catholic faith and abandoned that in favor of the non-duality teachings of Krishnamurti. I let "him" go in the late 90's because I needed structure. In 2006, I chose again. The workbook lessons of the Course provided the structure I needed plus it integrated my familiarity of Jesus from Catholicism. The Course has been the focus of my spiritual practice but not the only influence since then.
I will miss what I've received while reading, listening to and watching what you understood, have experienced and forgiven from your journey with the Course.
With sincere and deep gratitude for your demonstration of the Course principles.
Memorial Tribute by
I was moved to reach out to you in your time of mourning the apparent loss of your beloved husband, Kenneth. Without any doubt, you are not alone in your seeming loss. I, among so many brothers and sisters who have been guided and inspired by Ken, mourn along side you.
I believe it was some time in 2005 when I "found" Ken, after I once again picked up my study of ACIM. From that point on he became the most important Spiritual Teacher/ Mentor of my life. I feel deeply blessed to have had his Light shining in my dream since then. I am grateful beyond words for his legacy, and although he left the world's dream far too soon for me (and all who knew him, I am certain), his Spirit remains in the work he left behind, which will continue to guide and inspire me in my awakening (and so many others who choose this path).
I had the honor of meeting your husband several years ago while he was speaking at an A.R.E. conference (your beautiful self was also there!). My son had recently died prior to Ken's appearance in Virginia Beach. I had the opportunity of sharing my loss with Ken. I will never forget his words, which I would like to now share with you. Ken told me that my son was still with me (in my mind, the mind we all share as One Son) and would always be with me. Ken reminded me that there is no death and love never ends. My son and I remain as One beyond this dream world. From studying ACIM I knew this intellectually, but hearing Ken reinforce this reached me at a deeper level. This conversation with Ken was a balm to my soul.
I know in my heart that you already knew Ken's words to me, how could you not with ACIM being such a major part of you and your husband's life path. Please forgive me, as a seeming stranger attempting to comfort you at this time, should what I write be inappropriate right now. I trust my "good intention" to reach out comes from the Holy Spirit in my mind and not from ego. I'm still working on discerning the difference.
I've written to you as a sister who knows the sorrow of profound loss. Again I ask your forgiveness during this extremely vulnerable time if I have been insensitive in any way. I wanted you to know how much Ken has encouraged and supported my waking up as no one else has ever done (and will continue to do). Ken's life was a blessing beyond words to the brothers and sisters whose lives he touched.
It was only through the Wisdom and Love poured forth in ACIM that I found comfort and Peace, when nothing else in this world was able to bring this to me. Ken's deep understanding of the Course expressed through his words, in his books, and in his CDs, clarified and reinforced the Course's message for me, most especially with my son's apparent death. I don't know how I would have made it through without Jesus' and Ken's Love for us, the separated ones who still struggle with our split minds, and Jesus and Ken's desire, above all else, to show us the way Home.
My prayer of Peace for you is sent from my heart, Gloria.
Memorial Tribute by
Tribute to Dr. Kenneth Wapnick
Kenneth Wapnick is clothed in true forgiveness and has unveiled the ultimate state of Innocence & freedom in doing so. His effects to pave this road are undeniable and defeats every excuse to defend this life of contradictions.
His gentle teaching of Release leads to clarity and the soft opening of ones self to the Atonement.
He proves the "death of all judgment is not only attainable, but the only frontier in the Land of the Living.
He shows us the width and depth of our potential to Love ourselves and find happiness.
Kenneth Wapnick is as wide and true as they come.
I am a painter and my work is influenced everyday by the effects of this great teacher and his consistency in the pursuit of Truth.
I will continue to study all his insights into A Course in Miracles and mark my work by them. I am forever grateful for his loyalty to this end. "…nobody not even the rain has such small hands."
Thank you Kenneth for opening my heart, if only petal by petal to my Awakening.
I am homeward bound...