Jim Carrey’s Commencement Speech at the 2014 MUM Graduation – Transcript
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Dr. Bevan Morris: 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 – Actor
Thank you. What are you sitting down for! I was going to milk that for a while. You guys can stretch that out at post, right? To make that longer in the edit.
Thank you, Bevan, thank you all!
I brought one of my paintings to show you today. I hope you guys are going to be able see it okay. It’s not one of my bigger pieces. So you might want to move down front — to 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 — the fields are empty — there is no cover there.
I am 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.
Excuse me if I seem a little 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? Woke up right in the middle of Pitta and couldn’t get back to sleep till Vata rolled around, but I didn’t freak out. I used that time to eat a large meal and 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. Sometimes, I think that’s one of the only thing that’s important, really. Just letting each other know we’re here, reminding each other that we are 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, pleading for my chains, blinded by longing and tripping over paradise — can I get an Amen?
You didn’t think I could be serious, did ya’? 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 loaner and would have to be returned. Then, I learned that everything outside the vehicle was a part of me, too, and now I drive a convertible. Top down wind in my hair!
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!
I want to thank the Trustees, Administrators and Faculty of MUM for creating an institution worthy of Maharishi’s ideals of education. A place that teaches 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 is a huge difference between a dog that is going to eat you in your mind and an actual dog that’s going to eat you. That may sound like no big deal, but many never learn that distinction and they spend a great deal of their lives living in fight or flight response.
I’d like to acknowledge all you wonderful parents — way to go for the fantastic job you’ve done — for your tireless dedication, your love, your support, and most of all, for the attention that you paid to your children. I have a saying, “Beware 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 — Wall Street, that type of thing — crimes committed by people with self-esteem. Stuff parents can still be proud of in a weird way.
And to the graduating class of 2017 — minus 3! You didn’t let me finish! Congratulations! Yes, give yourselves 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 is a world starving for new ideas, new leadership.
I’ve been out there for 30 years. She’s a wild cat! Oh, she’ll rub up against your leg and purr until you pick her up and start pettin’ her, and out of nowhere she’ll swat you in the face. It can be rough out there but that’s OK, because there’s soft serve ice cream with sprinkles. 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. It’s party size.
My father could have been a great comedian, but he didn’t believe 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.
It’s not the only thing he taught me though: I watched the affect 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 my house and they would be greeted by a 7 yr 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.” And I would go back to the top of the stairs and come back down in slow motion. It was a very strange household.
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 do they need that your talent can provide? That’s all you have to figure out. As someone who has done what you are 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 from concern got me to the top of a mountain. Look where I am — look what I get to do! Everywhere I go – and 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. I am at the top of the mountain and the only one I hadn’t freed was myself and that’s when my search for identity deepened.