Nina Graboi

From Wikiquote
Jump to navigation Jump to search

Nina Graboi (December 8, 1918 – December 13, 1999) was a Jewish Holocaust survivor, artist, writer, spiritual seeker, philosopher, and influential figure in the sixties psychedelic movement.



One Foot in the Future: A Woman's Spiritual Journey (2000)

  • for me, my sensuous body was a liability-it seemed to attract the wrong men for the wrong reasons. (Chapter Three)
  • The political atmosphere was heating up. In Germany, Hitler blared his message of the super race and of hatred for the Jews into Aryan ears. In Italy, Mussolini dosed dissenters with castor-oil. (Chapter Four)
  • If all the Jews were like you, there wouldn't be any anti-semitism," she said fondly. From then on, I was to hear these words frequently. They were meant to reassure the "exceptional" Jew to whom they were addressed, but were in fact expressions of a virulent kind of anti-semitism that was willing to make exceptions without denying the validity of Hitlerian racism. (Chapter Four)
  • In 1955, it was not fashionable to believe in God. To the philosophical avant garde, God was dead. Science laughed at the superstitious beliefs of the ignorant; many of the college-educated turned away from religion. Those who still went to church or synagogue did so more to maintain a tradition than from a sincerely felt need for intercourse with the divine. (Chapter Nineteen)
  • The ego, or the false self, is a thousand-headed hydra (Chapter Nineteen)
  • Throughout this, I kept paring away at the accretions of my conditioning. I subjected all my beliefs to radical doubt and questioned the values by which I lived. Were they truly mine? Or had they been foisted on me, as on everybody else, by the culture? I had questioned before, but not nearly enough. I discovered new possibilities, alternative approaches to almost everything I had hitherto taken for granted, and I saw the hypocrisy and the phoniness of much that made up the image I presented to the world. I called it "peeling the onion" and worked diligently to free myself of robot prejudices and responses. These inner events took place over a period of years, and they are still going on. (Chapter Nineteen)
  • A vast gap between who I was and who I could be had opened up. I saw that we humans carry within us the potential for a greatly expanded awareness of reality that embraces levels which are not accessible to ordinary consciousness. The cosmic nature of the reality that the books described dwarfed the microscopic portion of it that I knew. More than anything, I longed to look into the invisible realm. (Chapter Nineteen)
  • I avidly continued to read the arguments for and against Psi and reincarnation. I also read Walt Whitman, Ouspensky, Gurdjieff, Edgar Cayce, and Richard Maurice Bucke's Cosmic Consciousness, A Study in the Evolution of the Human Mind. In the mid-fifties, books of that nature were as hard find as people who were interested in them. In the sixties the heavens opened up and scores of books, both old and new, showered down upon the waiting world. How much easier my search would have been if I had waited! But at that time, very little information was available about non-ordinary states. There was William James who got high on nitrous oxide in the dentist's chair and had an unforgettable glimpse of another reality; and there was C.G.Jung. Elsewhere, psychology dismissed transcendent states as oceanic feelings and regression to the womb. (Chapter Nineteen)
  • Before long, I read my first book on Hindu philosophy. It was like a blow to my solar plexus; it jarred me awake. Here, at last, was what I sought. Instead of an object of dispute and often ridicule, here, reincarnation was taken for granted. The teachings were logical, unsentimental, yet filled with the spirit of non-harmfulness, compassion, understanding, love. To my western ears, Hindu philosophy sounded naive. The world I knew, the "real" world, was ruled by money and desires. But the words in Patanjali's Yoga Aphorisms struck a deep chord. Unlike Christianity and Judaism, which insist on unquestioning faith, Patanjali tells us to believe nothing without first testing it. This was just right for me. It was the way I had chosen long ago, when I was still a child. (Chapter Nineteen)
  • Rereading these pages, I am struck with a sense of unfamiliarity with the feelings I then harbored. Here was a woman not yet forty who believed her life to be over because her children had grown! Did I really experience these sentiments? It seems so alien to me now; again, I am reminded of how little of what I call myself is permanent. (Chapter Twenty)
  • As a young girl, I thought that being in love with the man I married would guarantee a life of eternal joy. I soon learned that there weren't too many

couples who lived out the fairy tale. Wedded bliss, I found out, isn't all it's cracked up to be; the happiness it's supposed to bring is, except in rare cases, simply a myth. (Chapter Twenty-two)

  • The one bond of love that seems inalienable is that of a mother to her child. Motherhood is one of the greatest blessings in life, I had always been told. And in many ways, it is. That it is also one of the heaviest burdens is kept secret from one generation to the next. The charming smiles, the adorable gurglings of your infant son or daughter are paid for with sleepless nights, and later with the inevitable clashes between you and your growing child. "Little children, little worries. Big children, big worries," isn't that how the saying goes? Yet so strong is the imperative of nature that women uncomplainingly carry out this task and hand down the myth of the joys of motherhood to their unsuspecting daughters. Today I know that the unconditional love a mother is supposed to bear her child is as much of a fable as that child's unconditional love for her. There is as much ambivalence in the mother-child relationship as with the rest of the family members. The nuclear family, so vital to the well-being of the growing child, is also the breeding ground for the psychological damage that characterizes so much of today's civilized society. By the time I was in my thirties I had already seen through these myths. (Chapter Twenty-two)
  • We are growing, becoming more spiritual, these men said. Could the drugs help us, who are now located between the animals and the angels, to one day leave our larval state and become butterflies? With all my heart I wanted to believe in our potential to evolve, to emerge from our brutish past. (Chapter Twenty-two)
  • My hope that Maslovian psychology would put an end to the interminable preoccupation with childhood wounds has not materialized. For many people, their personal drama remains a subject of endless fascination. I believe that our lives can be much richer and more rewarding if we turn our attention away from the past and look at what we can become instead of what we are prevented from being. There are vast untapped potentialities in the human psyche; what stops us from exploring them is the obsessive way we dwell on past injuries. (Chapter Twenty-three)
  • The failures of the past can turn into triumphs of the future. To lead us away from the shallow view of human nature that is still prevalent today, we must direct our gaze to the greatness that slumbers within. And despite the chaos that abounds in the world, it is my unshakable belief that the new breed of humans which is now incubating will be more like Maslow's self-actualizers than Freud's domesticated primates, ruled by neurotic drives. (Chapter Twenty-three)
  • What is assumed to bring happiness and fulfillment often brings the greatest pain. (Epilogue)

Quotes about Nina Graboi

  • She often seemed moved by some unknown force, externally motivated and internally subtle, a dance of the immortal, the chi, the kundalini, the stuff that makes earthquakes. As I watched the vapors rise from the crematorium I thought about the importance of Nina's transcendence, and words my friend had spoken just days before she seemingly decided to take the leap, and jumped out of her "space suit," as she had so often referred to her body. After a tripping session in my room she looked at me through kind, clear eyes and said that if she could no longer recreate the mystical, that transformative high, then she had little interest in living. Were it not for her uncanny ability to gently and unassumingly reach inside people, coupled with her hunger to guide young adults in the responsible use of mind altering drugs, she may well have ignored all allopathic attempts to combat her lung cancer. After a few speedy months of tangle with the disease, and the work that arises during that process, she quietly and simply left, just as she had lived her remarkable life. Nina spoke with a ruthless regard for the truth. Yet, she looked upon humanity ever hopeful of our spiritual evolution, encouraging us toward the divine. Our good fortune as her friends, was the deeply intimate manner in which she connected. Each of us has a touching Nina story to inspire us to open our hearts and fall into love. For the myriad ways that this remarkable lover of spirit has touched so many lives, one thing stands out, her unwavering commitment to her spiritual life. Nina was a poet, an artist of life's canvas, an exquisite philosopher, engaging the great minds of a restless age (Jean Houston, Robert Thurman, Abraham Maslow, Stanley Krippner, Timothy Leary, Alan Watts, Ram Dass, Ralph Abraham, among others) and always, always embracing the light. We have loved you, and as you have said will love you again and again in lives to come.
  • The interplay of inner transformation and outer events is sensitively portrayed by Nina Graboi
    • Ram Dass blurb in One Foot in the Future (2000)
  • Nina Graboi survived the Nazi's hunt-and-destroy mission against Jews, the superficial life of a Long Island matron, the hazards of being associated with Timothy Leary as director of an LSD Center in New York, and financial risks involved in divorce American style, with integrity, and with humor.
  • Nina Graboi's wonderful odyssey from the center of Nazi Europe to the center of the Acid Age and beyond is an extraordinary tale of humor and hope writ large on the canvas of the 20th Century
Wikipedia has an article about: