TAT Event - "Higher Mind Seminar"
June 1982, TAT Farm (a.k.a. "June, 1982 Chautauqua")
Seminar Speakers Show Power of Mind Control
Pittsburgh Post-Gazette - Saturday, June 26, 1982
By Bohdan Hodiak
Post-Gazette Staff Writer
"Nothing real can be threatened. Nothing unreal exists. Herein lies the peace of God."
Speaking those words was L. Fred Bissell, MD, a psychotherapist from Kent, Ohio. They are quotes from "A Course In Miracles," which could be described as a self-taught form of spiritual psychotherapy.
Bissell spoke last weekend at the Higher Mind Seminar, held on a farm near Moundsville, W. Va. Although not formally a religious seminar, religious ideas and expressions kept cropping up.
The course has sold 140,000 three-volume sets since it was first published in 1975. The author, a woman who wanted to remain anonymous, has since died. She was a Columbia University psychologist who described herself as "an educator, conservative in theory, atheistic in belief."
The books are available here at the Unity Center in Point Breeze. The center also offers introductions to the course.
The author said she began writing in 1965 when she felt an urge to set down a series of teachings that came to her "out of the blue". Some made her feel uncomfortable, some she didn't understand, and some she disagreed with. But over a six-year period she wrote them all down.
Essentially, it deals with love.
A psychiatrist in California, Gerald Jampolsky, M.D., has taken the basic ideas of the course and put them into a popular book titled Love is Letting Go of Fear.
But while the book explains the course's philosophy, living it is what makes it effective.
Another speaker at the seminar was Vernon Craig of Wooster, Ohio. Known professionally as Komar, he is listed in the Guinness Book of World Records for having walked 25 feet over coals that gave a pyrometer reading of 1,494 degrees centigrade.
What was his secret? "Breath control," Craig claimed.
He said that when he was 8 years old, he discovered a book, The Science of Breath, written by a yogi."I literally lived and breathed that book for the next four years."
In most people, Bissell said, the correspondence between the right and left brain functions begins to atrophy beginning at age 9 or 10. He said Craig apparently was able to keep this correspondence open, enabling his mind to have an extraordinary effect upon his body.
Chanting, singing and meditation are among the activities which "integrate the left and right brain," Bissell said, all of which play important functions in religion.
Craig has an unusual ability to heal quickly. He once demonstrated firewalking before a Hollywood television audience. He requires silence to keep his concentration. But during the middle of the firewalk, the announcer blared Into the microphone, "Ladles and gentleman he's doing it."
That snapped Craig out of the trance and his feet were badly burned. While most people might have spent months in the hospital, Craig's feet healed in three weeks.
Craig said he didn't think much of two philosophical concepts popular today — "egolessness" and positive thinking.
"Let me point out to you that the most important thing you have to work with is the ego. You are talking about your being, your personality, your 'I am.'" Craig said. "If your ego does not exist, you do not exist. The ego must be built on."
About positive thinking, Craig said. "You can't be totally positive. The negativity in your life helps you grow."
Could he walk on water? "I think I could if I wanted to badly enough, if I could convince myself that I could ... Whatever the mind can conceive, man can achieve."
The seminar was inspired by Richard Rose. 64, owner of the farm. Rose said his own spiritual quest led him to despair and what he thought was insanity. It was then that what he later described as "cosmic consciousness" broke through and he learned the meaning of life.
To share his experience, He began speaking before various groups. In Pittsburgh, a group of college students became interested in Rose's books and formed a discussion group called the Truth and Transmission Society.
On Aug 7 and 8, he will hold a "Weekend with Richard Rose" at the farm.
Rose, who once studied to be a Catholic priest, now is a philosopher. He thinks highly of Zen Buddhism and the Gurdjieff-Ouspensky system. But those attempting to pin him to a particular dogma or answers to specific questions will be disappointed. He is more interested in helping people find their own answers and showing them how they lead themselves into traps.
Details on Pittsburgh lectures, and seminars at the farm are available from the TAT Foundation, 1686 Marshall Street. Benwood. W. Va., 26031.
Camping is available at the farm.