Jim Carrey Commencement Speech Transcript 2014 at Maharishi University of Management
Comedian Jim Carrey delivered a commencement address to the 2014 Maharishi International University of Management class. Read the full text of his May 30, 2014 commencement speech here.
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Speaker 1: (00:01)
Please welcome to speak to us the funniest man on earth. A performer of legendary comic genius, a children’s book author of profound depth, an individual of enormous compassion who is doing so much to make our world a better place. The great Jim Carrey.
Jim Carrey : (00:26)
Thank you. What are you sitting down for? I was going to milk that for a while. You guys can stretch that out in post, right? Can make that longer in the edit. Thank you, Bevin. Thank you all. [foreign language 00:01:13].
Jim Carrey : (01:19)
I brought one of my paintings to show you today. I hope you guys are going to be able to see it okay. It’s not one of my bigger pieces. So you might want to move down front. Get a good look at it. Faculty, parents, friends, dignified guests, graduating class of 2014, and all the dead baseball players coming out of the corn to be with us today. After the harvest, there’s no place for them to hide. Fields are empty. There’s no cover there. I’m here to plant a seed today. A seed that will inspire you to move forward in life with enthusiastic hearts and a clear sense of wholeness. The question is will that seed have a chance to take root or will I be sued by Monsanto and forced to use their seed, which may not be totally Ayurvedic?
Jim Carrey : (02:51)
Excuse me if I seem a little bit low energy tonight, today, whatever this is, I slept with my head to the north last night. Oh man. Oh man. You know how that is, right kids? Yeah. Woke up right in the middle of Pitta, couldn’t get back to sleep until Vata rolled around. Crazy. But I didn’t freak out. I used that time to eat a large meal, connect with someone special on Tinder. Because life doesn’t happen to you. It happens for you. How do I know this? I don’t, but I’m making sound and that’s the important thing. That’s what I’m here to do.
Jim Carrey : (03:54)
Sometimes I think that’s the only thing that’s important really, is just letting each other know we’re here. Reminding each other that we’re part of a larger self. I used to think Jim Carrey is all that I was. Just a flickering light, a dancing shadow. The great nothing masquerading as something you can name, seeking shelter in caves and foxholes dug out hastily. An archer searching for his target in the mirror, wounded only by my own arrows. Begging to be enslaved, leading for my chains. Blinded by longing and tripping over paradise.
Jim Carrey : (04:37)
Can I get an amen? You didn’t think I could be serious, did you? I don’t think you understand who you’re dealing with. I have no limits. I cannot be contained because I’m the container. You can’t contain the container, man. You can’t contain the container. I used to believe that who I was ended at the edge of my skin, that I had been given this little vehicle called a body from which to experience creation. And though I couldn’t have asked for a sportier model, it was after all a loner and would have to be returned. Then I learned that everything outside the vehicle was part of me too, and now I drive a convertible. Top down, wind in my hair.
Jim Carrey : (06:03)
I am elated and truly, truly, truly excited to be present and fully connected to you at this important moment in your journey. I hope you’re ready to open the roof and take it all in. Okay. Four more years then. They’re obviously not ready. Just needs some more [inaudible 00:06:26].
Jim Carrey : (06:27)
I want to thank the trustees, the administrators, the faculty of MUM for creating an institution worthy of Maharishi’s ideals of education. A place that teaches knowledge and experience, the knowledge and experience necessary to be productive in life, as well as enabling the students through transcendental meditation and ancient Vedic knowledge to slack off twice a day for an hour and a half. Don’t think you’re fooling me. But I guess it has some benefits. It does allow you to separate who you truly are. And what’s real from the stories that run through your head. You have given them the ability to walk behind the mind’s elaborate set decoration and to see that there’s a huge difference between a dog that is going to eat you in your mind and an actual dog that is going to eat you.
Jim Carrey : (07:35)
That may sound like no big deal, but many never learned that distinction. And they spend a great deal of their lives living in fight or flight response. I’d like to acknowledge all of you wonderful parents. Way to go. What a fantastic job you’ve done. For your tireless dedication, your love, your support, most of all for the attention that you paid to your children. I have a saying, be aware the unloved because they will eventually hurt themselves or me. But when I look at this group here, I feel really safe. I do. I’m just going to say it. My room is not locked. My room is not locked. No doubt some of you will turn out to be crooks, but white collar stuff. You know, Wall Street, that type of thing. Crimes committed by people with self-esteem. Stuff parents can still be proud of in a weird way.
Jim Carrey : (08:51)
And to the graduating class of 2017… Minus three. You didn’t let me finish. Congratulations. Yes. Give yourself a round of applause please. You are the vanguard of knowledge and consciousness, a new wave in a vast ocean of possibilities. On the other side of that door, there’s a world starving for new ideas, new leadership. I’ve been out there for 30 years. She’s a wild cat. She’ll rub up against your leg and purr until you pick her up and start petting her. And then out of nowhere, she’ll swat you in the face. It can be rough out there, but that’s okay because there’s soft serve ice cream with sprinkles.
Jim Carrey : (10:02)
I guess that’s what I’m really trying to say here today. Sometimes it’s okay to eat your feelings. Now fear is going to be a player in your life, but you get to decide how much. You can spend your whole life imagining ghosts, worrying about the pathway to the future, but all there will ever be is what’s happening here, and the decisions we make in this moment, which are based in either love or fear. So many of us choose our path out of fear disguised as practicality. What we really want seems impossibly out of reach and ridiculous to expect. So we never dare to ask the universe for it. I’m saying I’m the proof that you can ask the universe for it. Please. And if it doesn’t happen for you right away, it’s only because the universe is so busy fulfilling my order. Party size.
Jim Carrey : (11:19)
My father could have been a great comedian, but he didn’t believe that that was possible for him. And so he made a conservative choice. Instead, he got a safe job as an accountant. And when I was 12 years old, he was let go from that safe job and our family had to do whatever we could to survive. I learned many great lessons from my father, not the least of which was that you can fail at what you don’t want so you might as well take a chance on doing what you love.
Jim Carrey : (11:45)
It’s not the only thing he taught me though. I watched the effect of my father’s love and humor and how it altered the world around me, and I thought, “That’s something to do. That’s something worth my time.” It wasn’t long before I started acting up. People would come over to the house and they’d be greeted by a seven year old, throwing himself down a large flight of stairs. They would say, “What happened?” And I would say, “I don’t know, let’s check the replay.” I’d go back to the top of the stairs and come back down in slow motion. It was a very strange household.
Jim Carrey : (12:54)
My father used to brag that I wasn’t a ham, I was the whole pig. And he treated my talent as if it was his second chance. When I was about 28, after a decade as a professional comedian, I realized one night in LA that the purpose of my life had always been to free people from concern, just like my dad. And when I realized this, I dubbed my new devotion the Church of Freedom From Concern, the Church of FFC. And I dedicated myself to that ministry. What’s yours? How will you serve the world? What did they need that your talent can provide? That’s all you have to figure out.
Jim Carrey : (13:47)
As someone who’s done what you’re about to go and do, I can tell you from experience the effect you have on others is the most valuable currency there is. Because everything you gain in life will rot and fall apart, and all that will be left of you is what was in your heart. My choosing to free people, my choosing to free people from concern got me to the top of a mountain. Look where I am, look what I get to do? Everywhere I go… I’m going to get emotional because when I tap into this, it really is extraordinary to me. I did something that made people present their best selves to me, wherever I go.
Jim Carrey : (14:50)
I am the top of the mountain, and I was. And the only one I hadn’t freed was myself, and that’s when my search for identity deepened. I wondered who I’d be without my fame. Who would I be if I said things that people didn’t want to hear, or if I defied their expectations of me? What if I showed up to the party without my Mardi Gras mask and refused to flash my breasts for a handful of beans? I’ll give you a moment to wipe that image out of your mind. You guys are so ahead of the game. You already know who you are.
Jim Carrey : (15:31)
And that peace, that peace that we’re after lies somewhere beyond personality, beyond the perception of others, beyond invention and disguise. Even beyond effort itself. You can join the game, fight the wars, play with form all you want, but to find real peace you have to let the armor go. Your need for acceptance can make you invisible in this world. Don’t let anything stand in the way of the light that shines through this form. Risk being seen in all of your glory.
Jim Carrey : (16:08)
It’s not big enough. This painting is big for a reason. It’s called High Visibility. It’s about picking up the light and daring to be seen. Here’s the tricky part. Everyone is attracted to the light. The party host up at the top, who thinks unconsciousness is bliss and is always offering to drink from the bottles that empty you. Misery, below her, despises the light, can’t stand when you’re doing well, wishes you nothing but the worst. The Queen of Diamonds, under him, needs a King to build her house of cards. And the hollow one down bottom there will clean to your leg and say, “Please don’t leave me behind for I have abandoned myself.”
Jim Carrey : (17:30)
Even those who are closest to you and most in love with you, the people you love most in the world will find clarity confronting at times. This painting took me thousands of hours to complete. And when I was finished… Thank you, thousands of hours, yes. I’ll never get them back. I’ll never get them back. I worked on this for so long. I was weeks and weeks like a madman alone on a scaffolding. And when I was finished, one of my friends said this would be a cool black light painting. So I started over.
Jim Carrey : (18:30)
Welcome to Burning Man. Some pretty crazy characters up there, but better up there than in here. Painting is one of the ways… Thank you. Painting is one of the ways I free myself from concern. A way to stop the world through total mental, spiritual, and physical involvement. But even with that comes a feeling of divine dissatisfaction, because ultimately we’re not the avatars we create. We’re not the pictures on the film stock. We are the light that shines through. All else is just smoke and mirrors, distracting but not truly compelling. I’ve often said that I wish people could realize all their dreams and wealth and fame so that they could see that it’s not where you’re going to find your sense of completion.
Jim Carrey : (19:24)
Like many of you, I was concerned about going out into the world and doing something bigger than myself, until someone smarter than myself made me realize that there is nothing bigger than myself. My soul is not contained within the limits of my body. My body is contained within the limitlessness of my soul. One unified field. One unified field of nothing dancing for no particular reason, except maybe to comfort and entertain itself.
Jim Carrey : (20:11)
As that shift happens in you, you won’t be feeling the world, you’ll be felt by it. You’ll be embraced by it. Now I’m always at the beginning, I have a reset button and I ride that button constantly. Once that button is functioning in your life, there’s no story that the mind could create that will be as compelling. The imagination is always manufacturing scenarios, both good and bad. And the ego tries to keep you trapped in the multiplex of the mind. Our eyes are not viewers. They’re also projectors that are running a second story over the picture that we see in front of us all the time. Fear is writing that script, and the working title is I’ll Never be Enough.
Jim Carrey : (21:06)
And you’re going to look at a person like me and say, “How could we ever hope to reach those kinds of heights, Jim?” How can we make a painting that’s too big for our home? How do you fly so high without a special breathing apparatus? This is the voice of the ego. And if you listen to it, there will always be someone who’s doing better than you. No matter what you gain, ego will not let you rest. He will tell you that you cannot stop until you’ve left an indelible mark on the earth, until you’ve achieved immortality. How tricky is this ego that it would tempt us with a promise of something we already possess? So I just want you to relax. That’s my job. Relax and dream up a good life.
Jim Carrey : (22:29)
I had a substitute teacher from Ireland in the second grade that told my class during morning prayer that when she wants something, anything at all, she prays for it and promises something in return. And she always gets what she wants. I’m sitting at the back of the classroom thinking, “Wow, my family can’t afford a bike.” So I went home and I prayed for one and I promised I would recite the rosary every night in exchange. Broke it. Broke that promise. But two weeks later, I got home from school to find a brand new Mustang bike with a banana seat and easy rider handlebars. Yeah. From fool to cool.
Jim Carrey : (23:11)
My family informed me that I had won the bike in a raffle that a friend of mine had entered my name in without my knowledge whatsoever. So that type of thing has been happening to me ever since. As far as I can tell, it’s just about letting the universe know what you want and working toward it while letting go of how it comes to pass.
Jim Carrey : (23:32)
Your job is not to figure out how it’s going to happen for you, but to open the door in your head. And when the door opens in real life, just walk through it. And don’t worry if you miss your cue because there’s always doors opening. They keep opening. And when I say, “Life doesn’t happen to you, it happens for you.” I really don’t know if that’s true. I’m just making a conscious choice to perceive challenges as something beneficial so that I can deal with them in the most productive way. You’ll come up with your own style. That’s part of the fun.
Jim Carrey : (24:23)
Oh, and why not take a chance on faith as well? Take a chance on faith, not religion, but faith. Not hope, but faith. I don’t believe in hope. Hope is a beggar. Hope walks through the fire and faith leaps over it. You are ready and able to do beautiful things in this world. And after you walk through those doors today, you will only ever have two choices, love or fear. Choose love, and don’t ever let fear turn you against your playful heart.
Jim Carrey : (25:16)
Thank you so much. [inaudible 00:25:21]. I’m so honored. Thank you.