The 2014 graduates of Maharishi University of Management were treated to an extraordinary commencement address, filled with equal measures of both wit and wisdom, by the award winning actor, comedian, author and humanitarian, Jim Carrey. The address was every bit as inspiring and humorous as expected. Read some excerpts below.
On Transcendental Meditation: “It does allow you to separate who you truly are and what’s real from the stories that run through your head. You [the university] have given them [the graduates] the ability to walk behind the mind’s elaborate set decoration, 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. That may sound like no big deal, but many [people] don’t make that distinction. They spend a great deal of their lives living in flight-or-fight response…or calling the dog pound.”
On making decisions: “Now fear is going to be a player in 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 it will ever be is what’s happening here, the decisions in that 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.
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. 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.”
Advice to the graduates: “When I was about 28, after a decade as a professional comedian, I realized one night in LA, the purpose of my life had always been to free people from concern, just like my dad. When I realized this, I dubbed my new devotion “the church of freedom from concern.” 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’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.”
On achieving your dreams: “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. Your job is not to figure out how it’s going to happen for you, it’s opening a door in your head, and when the door opens in real life, just walk through it. And don’t worry about missing your cue, because there’s always doors opening, and they keep opening. When I say “life doesn’t happen to you, it happens for you,” I really don’t believe that’s true…I’m just making a conscious choice to see challenges as something beneficial that I can deal with in the most productive way”
On finding fulfillment in life: “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 they’re gonna find their sense of completion. 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.”