‘We recently lost just a dear, beautiful friend’

A memorial has grown on the steps of Lake Harriet Spiritual Community in Linden Hills, where Justine Damond taught classes in yoga, mindfulness and meditation. Photo by Jim Walsh

A few weeks before she was gunned down by a Minneapolis cop, Justine Damond told the 55 members gathered at the Lake Harriet Spiritual Community’s Sunday service, “When we wake up into the quantum world we start to say, ‘Listen, I don’t believe the world happens to me, I believe I’m a creator, and I’m going to stop in this present moment and life should move towards me, and it’s moving towards me as a response to this frequency signature that I’ve set up over time.’ We tune into it like a radio dial tuning into a frequency. So you’re the same person moving through life, but depending on how you’re thinking and feeling will determine the life experiences that are coming towards you.”

The irony, of course, is that Damond’s life was snuffed out by a force not of her own making, but of the violent society she lived within. Her killing at the hands of the Minneapolis Police Department, like Philando Castile’s, is deservedly drawing international attention, for how we react as a people in response to this and other state-trained and -funded bloodshed is on the hands of all of us. As a city and a people, we’re going through what feels like a very important parable playing out before our very eyes in real time, about race, class, cops and guns, amidst a populace reaching the boiling point. A teachable moment, as the gurus say.

The good news is that the woman at the center of the most recent uproar was a healer and a teacher. I didn’t know Justine Damond, but I’ve been a longtime admirer of the Lake Harriet Spiritual Community, about which I’ve written and on whose altar I’ve been honored to guest speak. What I know is that LHSC is a safe, gentle, welcoming place, and if Ms. Damond was part of that community, you can bet she was a force for good and an evangelical voice of peace and wisdom on a planet aching for both.

A former veterinary surgeon, Damond has become yet another symbol of everything that’s wrong with everything, but luckily she was a spiritual being born of reading, meditating, yoga and love, and we could learn something from her at this very raw moment. She spoke frequently at LHSC, where she taught yoga and meditation, and her July 2nd sermon focused on quantum physics, overcoming addiction, practicing self-love and attracting/refracting light. Some excerpts are available via the Lake Harriet Spiritual Community YouTube.com channel.

“In 2006, on New Year’s Day, I found myself sitting up on the edge of my bed. And I hadn’t been asleep. I feel like I had an out-of-body experience, but I was fully conscious during this process. And a few weeks before, I’d seen the movie ‘What The Bleep Do We Know?’ and there were some really profound statements and messages in that movie, inviting us to consider that maybe our thoughts have a measurable effect on our reality. Maybe how we think and feel can not only affect our reality but in fact create it.

“So I’d been mulling that over for a few weeks, in I guess what you’d call a dark night of the soul. It was one of the darkest points of my life, because over the six months before, I’d really considered several times whether I wanted to stay on the planet or not. So I was really, really unhappy and really quite sick. … And I heard a quote from that movie: ‘In this infinite sea of potentials, why do we keep on creating the same realities over and over and over again?’

“When you do begin to find out about this possibility that your external reality is directly created by your powerful, powerful self, one of the first reactions can be regret, or blame, or overwhelm, or fear, that ‘How could I have created that?’ For people who are experiencing health conditions within themselves or have experienced tragedy outside of them — we recently lost just a dear, beautiful friend — it doesn’t mean that all those things are going to stop happening, but you gain a new perspective on it. So it’s not about me standing here telling you all that you’re to blame for everything that’s happened, it’s not about that. What we want to begin to learn is what standing in the present moment means, understanding what story makes up our past, and then how we can we begin to write a whole new story for our future.”

“We are vibrational beings. … Seven-point-eight times a second, you have the change the expression of yourself. But most people will spend 40 or 50 or 60 years re-expressing the same expression of themselves over again and over again and over again. … There’s this exquisite, infinite field of information. It’s unlimited. It’s universal intelligence, and from that information field you are being expressed — as your uniqueness, as your personality, as your incredible consciousness in this body collapsing waves of information into particles to make a pretty amazing and beautiful and good-looking and sexy version of yourselves sitting here right now.

“There is this field of information. It’s flowing into every part of us. Everything is an expression of this field. And not only are you connected to this god, or this source, or whatever you want to call it, but also to everyone else in this room, and everyone else on the planet, and every being and every leaf on every tree. It’s all so loving. There’s a benevolent force here. There’s this loving, caring witness to you.”

“If you have a bunch of similar thoughts in a row — happy thought, happy thought, happy thought — then you’ll have a happy state of mind. If you have a jealous thought —a jealous thought, a jealous thought, a jealous thought — then you’re in a jealous state of mind. You can separate yourself out from the thoughts that you’re thinking. You can somehow notice the activity of your brain in a certain state of mind, right? Notice what you’re thinking and go, ‘Oh my god, thinking that is not making me feel good. I’m going to changed my mind.’ And the moment you change your mind, you change your brain. You are not your brain, you are not your mind.

“For those people in your life that you can’t get rid of, like a toxic friend you’re going to cut off, there are [also] the people who are going to be there all the time, and they’re going to meet you wherever you are at. So if you’re having a bad day, they’ll probably come in and make you feel like a victim, or if you’re in joy, they’re going to make you feel like you’re the most incredible person in the world. So they have the potential to move up and down in those life experiences, but you’re the epicenter of your reality.”

“Meditate, get in there and turn that frontal lobe on,” she concluded. “Then, once you start experiencing all these moments of freedom, instead of this constant mirror of reflection, you’re in this beautiful space of the unknown and pure possibility and pure potential, and just a massive adventure from one day to the next.”


Jim Walsh lives and grew up in South Minneapolis. He can be reached at [email protected]