Justine Damond: Video reveals darker side to her life
A VIDEO has provided insight into the dark struggle that led Australian woman Justine Damond towards a life of spirituality.
Ms Damond, a yoga teacher who moved from Sydney to Minneapolis about three years ago, was shot and killed by police officer Mohamed Noor outside her house on Saturday night under mysterious circumstances.
Now, a video posted to YouTube of her giving an hour-long lecture eight days before her death has provided a window into a darker side of her life.
In a speech at Minneapolis's Lake Harriet Spiritual Community centre, the 40-year-old describes watching her mother spiral into alcoholism and severe depression before dying of cancer.
"I saw that my mum was really at the mercy of her mind and her emotions and she couldn't get out. She was really being ruled by her addictions," Ms Damond says.
"I was witnessing was a potential future for myself … and that terrified me."
After her mother's death, she developed her own addictions and coping mechanisms that took hold her.
"It was one of the darkest points in my life and over the six months before I'd really spent several periods considering whether I wanted to stay on the planet or not," she said.
"So I was really, really unhappy and really quite sick."
While seated on her bed on New Year's Day, 2006, Ms Damond had an "out-of-body experience" where she watched her life repeat before her eyes.
"I was the one that kept showing up and I was the one that kept blaming everything outside of me for all the stuff that I believed was happening to me as a victim," she said.
"But, if I was the one common denominator, then perhaps I would have the power to change something internally or begin to take power back within myself."
This epiphany led to her life long commitment to meditation and using her spiritual beliefs to try to help others.
As her family and friends have expressed their shock and grief over the loss of Ms Damond, a theme has emerged.
She was remembered at a vigil on Sunday as "one of the most loving people you would ever meet"; her step son called her a "passionate" woman with a "generous heart"; a friend described her as "giving, smart, funny and caring".
The YouTube video provides a glimpse into why she was so beloved.
Ms Damond comes across as warm, engaging and funny as she shares her views on new age spirituality, while barefoot on stage.
Using a good dollop of self-deprecating humour ("I'm a nerd by nature," she says at one point) and with her Aussie accent fully intact, Ms Damond links science with self-help philosophies to help people unlock their potential by reprogramming their subconscious.
"We work to help people … learn about how your brain works so that you can use it to create the state of health that you want and create the life that you want," Ms Damond says in the speech.
"There's a benevolent force here, there's a loving, caring witness to you and … it's just waiting for you to come home, to turn around and pay attention to it.
"Turn of the television, turn off the iPhone, close your eyes and start to find out how you can enter into conversation and that loving nature will come through to you so quickly because it's responsive. It's a field of information and it's at your beck and call.
"This loving force will bring you anything you want but you are the sole creator of your reality."
Even if you're not convinced by her views on spirituality and the universe, it's hard not to be taken in by her irresistible spirit.
At one cute moment in the video, she breaks into a spontaneous dance to distract from a technical problem with her microphone.
Later, she describes her joy at rescuing a raft of ducklings that had fallen into a drain.
"You've never lived unless you've had eight ducklings fling themselves into your lap because they've realised your trying to help. So beautiful," says Ms Damond, who is a qualified veterinary surgeon.
Anger is growing in Minnesota and Australia over a lack of answers about why Ms Damond was shot.
The state's independent Bureau of Criminal Apprehensions has launched an investigation into the killing but has provided few details about what sparked the deadly incident.