Saying Goodbye Memorials
On the Passing of
Dr. Kenneth Wapnick,
December 27, 2013
Sir David Ramon Hawkins, MD, Ph.D.
By now many of you have heard of the passing of Dr. Ken Wapnick on Friday, December 27th. Ken was only 71.I met Ken in April 1975 when Helen Schucman (whom I met in 1973) decided it was time to sit me down and tell me about A Course in Miracles. It happened in Ken’s spartan little studio apartment on East 17th Street in New York City. It was decided at the end of that meeting that Ken and I would continue to get together for further discussion. This we usually did in my office-apartment at General Theological Seminary where I was doing graduate studies and teaching.
Six weeks after Helen told me about the Course, she met Judy Whitson. Judy and I were both working with the American Society for Psychical Research in NYC; and we were both teaching at New York University School of Continuing Education. Judy saw to the reproduction of several copies of the Course and we got a chance to do an early reading. After the Course was published in June of 1976, I began sponsoring workshops with Ken as the leader in New York City, in Westchester County, and at my church in Orange County, New York.
From 1977 to 1988, I owned a mini retreat center called “High Rock Springs” in Katonah, New York. For several years, I sponsored workshops there with Ken, usually on Memorial and Labor Day weekends. In 1979 the Foundation for Religion and Mental Health in Briarcliff, New York, commissioned me to produce, a series of Saturday seminars with leaders in the field of psychotherapy and spirituality. I organized one weekend with Ken as the keynote speaker.
Gloria was there, and it was the first time I noticed Ken and Gloria “making eyes,” and I thought, “Oh boy, something wonderful is going on here.” The next year they were married in a private ceremony. Ken was so in love with Gloria. Once, when we were going out to dinner in Temecula, I remember Ken’s running ahead of us to the car so he could open the car door for her. How many men do that?
His dedication, persistence, and downright doggedness were astonishing. He had an amazing ability to focus. I went to see him at Gloria’s house in Ardsley, NY in 1981, and he showed me the work he was doing on the Glossary-Index for the Course. In an age before personal computers he had it all laid out on 3 x 5 cards. Ken wrote 31 books and he produced hundreds of CDs and DVDs. Ken slept six hours a night, from 10 pm to 4 am. He would be up working while many of the rest of us were still dreaming.
The last workshop I sponsored with Ken was at High Rock in 1983. By that time, he no longer needed my help as he was receiving more invitations to speak than he could handle.
I always thought of Ken as my older brother and an ever wise advisor. When I was having “women problems,” I would go to Ken and he would always help me see a clearer way through the maze. For many years he counseled me through whatever road I was trying to navigate and just like Helen, who also offered me her counsel, Ken never judged me. As I would progress in understanding the Course, he would say, “Okay, now take it deeper.”
Ken had the remarkable ability to disagree with you without attacking you and he could “shape you up” and love you at the same time, doing it good naturedly. He read every book I wrote on the Course before it was published and offered his commentary. What he did for me, I know he did for a host of others.
In the early years, Ken had a noticeable speech impediment, but over the years he gained increasing control over it and it almost completely disappeared. In time, as he grew in the Course, Ken became progressively free, light, and ever more playful – always the sign of someone who is free of the tethers of this world. Recent pictures of Ken show him with a kind of impish smile on his face.
I can’t believe he is gone. It seems as if there was more he could have taught us. Regardless of how much we learned about the Course from Ken in the classroom, in his books and on his many CDs and DVDs, it is Ken himself – that really taught us by his example. He taught only love for that is what he was. I said to him in a letter, just one month ago, “I can’t imagine this world without you.”
When I called Dr. Bob Weltman to tell him of Ken’s passing, Bob said, “Oh, how I loved that man.” And then he said, referring to a session he had with Ken, “When I got up to leave, he hugged me and I knew that he loved me.” Even folks who met Ken only once felt as though he was their friend for life.
I was giving a talk in Winnipeg, Canada, and a lady showed me a framed picture of a treasured letter she had received from Ken. Other people have shown me their letters as well. When he moved to Roscoe in 1988, Ken was so busy with the move that he did not have time to answer all his correspondence. When he finally sat down and responded, he wrote replies to more than 50 different people. I’ve got a file of letters from Ken and I suspect that many others do as well.
Ken was at Omega in Rhinebeck, NY in 2008. I live near Rhinebeck, so one day when he was on a break, I went to see him and we went out to lunch. After lunch, we sat together for a long time, not talking. We did not close our eyes and deliberately meditate; neither did we stare at each other, we just sat, taking in the nature that surrounded us, neither of us speaking. Talking would have seemed extraneous – artificial and superfluous in an otherwise beautiful moment of communion. I rarely if ever felt more completely comfortable. After 20 minutes or more Ken and I looked at each smiled, hugged and said goodbye.
I never knew Ken to be sick a day in his life, though someone said that he once had a cold. The Course is incredibly clear in its emphasis on the fact that “You are not a body.” During these latter days, as Ken was getting frailer and folks were worrying about him, he would say, "I am not dying." How can the immortal die? Only the body, which never is who we are, can ever dissipate and disappear.
We were supposed to have lunch this past August. The day before his secretary, Elizabeth, called to read a humorous note from Ken canceling our appointment. As it turned out, he was going to visit the doctor for some tests. Little did we know that four months later he would pass from this world.
The time is set already. It appears to be quite arbitrary.
Yet there is no step along the road that anyone takes but by chance.
ACIM – W-158.3:1-2
You never know about the completion of a life plan.
Ramakrishna, who was thought to be an enlightened man, died of cancer at the age of 50.
Ramana Maharishi, also thought to be an enlightened man, died of cancer at the age of 70.
I will miss Ken tremendously as will the thousands of others who also loved him. You’ve heard of the saying “WWJD” -- “What Would Jesus Do?” Whenever I’ve been really stuck in this life’s journey, I’ve stopped and said, “WWKD” – “What Would Ken Do?” I learned more about Jesus through Ken than I did from the Jesus of history or the Bible. Many folks have told me over the years that when they looked at Ken, they could see Jesus in his smiling eyes.
In 1991, I wrote an article for Miracles magazine about Ken titled, Impeccably on the Path. I don’t know how close one can get to perfection in this earthly life. I know that Heaven is perfection and that Ken is there. If anyone ever achieved perfection in this life. . . Ken did.
If it seems I’ve put him on a pedestal, so be it. He was asked on several occasions if he would write his autobiography but he never did. He would always respond, “It’s not about me.” All he wanted in life was to provide us with a clear understanding of the Course. As I continue this life’s journey, I’m sure I will continue to say, “WWKD?” “What would Ken do?”
I’ll be doing a talk on the Course, 1:30 pm Sunday, January 12 at CRS, 123, 4th Ave. in NYC.
It will be recorded for YouTube, at that time. I’ll take time to offer a more formal eulogy for the most remarkable and spiritually advanced man I ever met.
Sir David Ramon Hawkins, M.D., Ph.D., affectionately called “Doc,” died peacefully at home in Sedona, Arizona, on September 19, 2012, at the age of 85. He was born on June 3, 1927, in Milwaukee, Wisconsin. He is survived by his wife Susan J. Hawkins of Sedona, step-daughter Sarah J. Humphrey (Josh Spradling), and step-granddaughter Evren L. Spradling of Peoria, Arizona.
Dr. Hawkins was renowned as a physician, author, lecturer, and researcher of consciousness. After serving in the U.S. Navy during WWII, he graduated from the Medical College of Wisconsin in 1953. For the next 25 years, he lived in New York, where he directed the largest psychiatric practice in the state. In 1973, he co-authored Orthomolecular Psychiatry with Nobel Laureate chemist Linus Pauling, initiating a new field within psychiatry and leading to appearances on The Today Show, The Barbara Walters Show, and The Mcneil/Leher News Hour.
Dr. Hawkins spent his last three decades in Arizona, working to correlate the seemingly disparate domains of science and spirituality. In 1983, he established the Institute for Spiritual Research, a nonprofit organization dedicated to consciousness research. In 1995, at the age of 68, he published the
book, Power vs. Force, translated into 25 languages, with over a million copies sold. Just before his
passing, he completed his twelfth book, Letting Go: The Pathway of Surrender.
From 1998-2011, Dr. Hawkins traveled widely as a lecturer throughout the U.S. and overseas, speaking to sold-out audiences about the science of consciousness and the reality of advanced spiritual states.
the Teacher, the Student, and the Man
by Stacy Sully
Discipline, humor, gentleness, patience, decisive, loving, willing, innocent, present, and focused. These are but words that point to the character of a man who used every moment of his day for awakening. Just words I know, but for Tomas they represented a depth of commitment that required a steadfast devotion. This discipline became his sacred tool for engaging only what is Real and saw him through days where it would have been easier just to give up or fall victim to “poor me.” Instead, he challenged each and every thought that was not of God. I wondered at times if these saintly qualities might eventually be worn down by the sheer weight of his situation, but at no time did he waiver or „flinch‟ as he liked to call it, from his open and spacious embrace of truth.
He loved to refer to his state as “hiding out in the open,” nothing to fear, nothing to hide from. He knew his safety lay in his total and complete transparency. The spirit in him was radiant, joyful, and playful. The man in him never complained or moaned or regretted his situation, quite the contrary for he knew it was imbued with divine love and perfect for his awakening. I watched as he greeted each day with joy and immense gratitude for God’s love and the beauty of being alive and able to serve in whatever capacity that appeared to be. If anything was difficult for him, it was the acceptance that his capacity to serve in the way he had been accustomed, had changed. His service developed into a deep appreciation of going within and recognizing his true nature and limitless heart. He was devoted to meditating at least once a day often 2 and 3 times.
Through his direct experiences with Oneness and his deep inner connection with Jesus, he received profound insights and teachings daily. He loved to share and give, these were the gifts he gave to others and ultimately to himself. I recall him sharing one of his direct experiences: “In an instant I saw the absolute power of gentleness and therefore, the futility and desperation of any act other than Love. I realized that in that moment, if the world glimpsed for an instant that innocence and gentleness - all conflict would be over.”
He lived every day as a healthy, active and compassionate man, never allowing the seeming appearance of illness to sway his conviction to the ONE Life, the ONE Power that is LOVE. When it was difficult and the ego challenged him, he would close his eyes and become quietly reflective and rest. You could feel as he righted himself, then he would open his eyes smiling and ask “what’s for dessert?” and there would be a lightness around him that was palpable. Our family meditations grew deeper and deeper with full presence in the stillness of the heart.
With each passage of letting go, he witnessed his ego self-deconstructing at an accelerated rate. He would often times say to me, “I am scared and excited all at once.” His vulnerability shone brighter and brighter as the days went on and his love for truth colored each and every moment. To say he will be missed is an understatement. What will not be missed and is undeniable, is the Love and the Truth that stands in his place. His genuine love of his brothers and sisters will be a constant reminder of what is Real. “Today let me honor the ONE Life, ONE Power, and the ONE Love everywhere I go, in everyone I meet and in every action I take,” this was a favorite daily affirmation. Note: Stacy Sully, is Tomas‟ great “love.” She loved, healed, and cared for Tomas these last few months with Rikki and Nouk, while sharing the profound joy’s of a blessed and holy relationship. And so the above writing, while penned by Stacy, is a message from all three of us, Stacy, Rikki and Nouk.
A Course in Miracles author and advocate
Hugh Prather died at his home in his hot tub Tucson, Arizona, this past November 15, 2010. Hugh was the author of the bestselling Notes to Myself. First published 1970 Notes to Myself sold over 5 million copies and was translated into 10 languages. Along with his wife Gayle, he wrote an additional 16 books. Hugh drew heavily on the teaching of A Course in Miracles, Christian language and themes. He was, for a time, minister of “The Dispensable Church.” Hugh emphasized the importance of gentleness, forgiveness, and loyalty. He was a columnist for Miracle Distributions newsletter the Holy Encounter and a regular featured speaker at Miracles Distributions annual conferences.