Sunday, May 25, 2014

Ken Wapnick and the Course, a refresher

Since the end of December, 2013, Ken Wapnick is no longer with us in physical form. Yet he remains ever present to me. "Harpo" he called me affectionately, as a reminder not to take myself too seriously, and always showing me that laughter is healing, and specifically that the tiny mad idea cannot withstand laughter. We can laugh it away it with Jesus. The last time I saw him in person was at one of the last workshops in the lush environment of Roscoe, NY. I never managed to visit him in the new desert location of Temecula, CA. But I spoke to him on the phone once in a while, and inevitably he pick up the phone with: "Harpo?"

Thanks to some Dutch friends, I was able to attend the first new academy class in Temecula, CA after Ken's passing, from March 8th through 16th of 2014. One of their group had canceled, apparently because Ken would not be teaching. My gratitude knows no bounds that I was able to attend this workshop, "I am not a breadbox," based on Helen Shucman's famous "breadbox" episode, which demonstrated that she intuitively grasped the teachings of the Course even before it had been dictated to her.

Then, a month after the workshop, I had the opportunity to listen to a tape of Ken's last workshop before his illness took him out of commission, "Taking the ego lightly." Again another reminder of how serious Jesus really is about nothing being serious, when he says about the tiny mad idea, and its "real effects," the world, (T-27.VIII.6:4) that: "... together we can laugh them both away,..." Another flashback to Ken's habit of calling me "Harpo," always to remind me to take the ego lightly. A reminder of the voice of the Holy Spirit who is whispering in our ear that this is all a joke.

Subtly, in this last workshop, he also reinforces the Course's debt to Platonic and gnostic mythology, by equating the Tiny Mad Idea (TMI) in the Course, to the gnostic image of Sofia, and how she (it) gives rise to the Demiurge (Ialdabaoth) the ego's God, who we regard as the creator of the world, while the world itself is merely the "afterbirth," the eventual effect in form of the tiny mad idea, but really nothing to write home about.
In that light the gnostic roots of the Course really come alive, and in that sense the Course is a beautiful reminder that the main problem of gnosticism was taking it all too literally all over again, and losing itself in idle speculation, instead of continuing to learn to tune in to that little voice whispering in our ear.

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