Thank you Bevan, thank you all!
I brought one of my paintings to show you today. Hope you guys are gonna be able see it okay.It’s not one of my bigger pieces. You might wanna move down front — to get a good look at it. (kidding)
Faculty, Parents, Friends, Dignitaries... Graduating Class of 2019, and all the dead baseballplayers coming out of the corn to be with us today. (laughter) After the harvest there’s noplace to hide — the fields are empty — there is no cover there! (laughter)
I am here to plant a seed that will inspire you to move forward in life with enthusiastic heartsand a clear sense of wholeness. The question is, will that seed have a chance to take root, or willI be sued by Monsanto and forced to use their seed, which may not be totally “Ayurvedic.” (laughter)
Excuse me if I seem a little low energy tonight — today — whatever this is. I slept with myhead to the North last night. (laughter) 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 Ididn’t freak out. I used that time to eat a large meal and connect with someone special onTinder. (laughter)
Life doesn’t happen to you, it happens for you. How do I know this? I don’t, but I’m makingsound, and that’s the important thing. That’s what I’m here to do. Sometimes, I think that’sone of the only things that are important. Just letting each other know we’re here, remindingeach 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
Dwelling in forts and castles made of witches – wishes! Sorry, a Freudian slip there
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”?! (applause)
You didn’t think I could be serious did ya’? I don't think you understand who you're dealingwith! I have no limits! I cannot be contained because I’m the container. You can’t containthe container, man! You can’t contain the container! (laughter)
I used to believe that who I was ended at the edge of my skin, that I had been given this littlevehicle called a body from which to experience creation, and though I couldn’t have asked for asportier model, (laughter) it was after all a loaner and would have to be returned. Then, Ilearned that everything outside the vehicle was a part of me, too, and now I drive aconvertible. Top down wind in my hair! (laughter)
I am elated and truly, truly, truly excited to be present and fully connected to you at thisimportant moment in your journey. I hope you’re ready to open the roof and take it all in?! (audience doesn’t react) Okay, four more years then! (laughter)
I want to thank the Trustees, Administrators and Faculty of MUM for creating an institutionworthy of Maharishi’s ideals of education. A place that teaches the knowledge and experiencenecessary to be productive in life, as well as enabling the students, through TranscendentalMeditation and ancient Vedic knowledge to slack off twice a day for an hour and a half!! (laughter) — don’t think you’re fooling me!!! — (applause) 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 runthrough your head.
You have given them the ability to walk behind the mind’s elaborate set decoration, and tosee that there is a huge difference between a dog that is going to eat you in your mind and anactual dog that’s going to eat you. (laughter) That may sound like no big deal, but many neverlearn that distinction and 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’vedone — for your tireless dedication, your love, your support, and most of all, for the attentionyou’ve paid to your children. I have a saying, “Beware the unloved,” because they willeventually hurt themselves... or me! (laughter)
But when I look at this group here today, I feel really safe! I do! I’m just going to say it — myroom is not locked! My room is not locked! (laughter) No doubt some of you will turn out to becrooks! But white-collar stuff — Wall St. ya’ know, that type of thing — crimes committed bypeople with self-esteem! Stuff a parent can still be proud of in a weird way. (laughter)
And to the graduating class of 2019 — minus 3! You didn't let me finish! (laughter) —Congratulations! (applause) Yes, give yourselves a round of applause, please. You are thevanguard of knowledge and consciousness; a new wave in a vast ocean of possibilities. On theother side of that door, there is a world starving for new leadership, new ideas.
I’ve been out there for 30 years! She’s a wild cat! (laughter) Oh, she’ll rub up against your legand purr until you pick her up and start pettin’ her, and out of nowhere she’ll swat you in theface. Sure it’s rough sometimes but that’s OK, ‘cause they’ve got soft serve ice cream withsprinkles! (laughter) I guess that’s what I’m really here to say; sometimes it’s okay to eat yourfeelings! (laughter)
Fear is going to be a player in your life, but you get to decide how much. You can spend yourwhole life imagining ghosts, worrying about your pathway to the future, but all there will everbe is what’s happening here, and the decisions we make in this moment, which are based ineither love or fear.
So many of us choose our path out of fear disguised as practicality. What we really want seemsimpossibly 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! (applause) And if itdoesn't happen for you right away, it’s only because the universe is so busy fulfilling my order.It’s party size! (laughter)
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 whenI was 12 years old, he was let go from that safe job and our family had to do whatever we couldto survive.
I learned many great lessons from my father, not the least of which was that you can fail atwhat you don’t want, so you might as well take a chance on doing what you love. (applause)
That’s not the only thing he taught me though: I watched the affect my father’s love andhumor had on the world around me, and I thought, “That’s something to do, that’s somethingworth my time.”
It wasn’t long before I started acting up. People would come over to my house and they wouldbe greeted by a 7 year old throwing himself down a large flight of stairs. (laughter) They wouldsay, “What happened?” And I would say, “I don't know — let’s check the replay.” And I wouldgo back to the top of the stairs and come back down in slow motion. (Jim reenacts coming downthe stairs in slow-mo) It was a very strange household. (laughter)
My father used to brag that I wasn’t a ham — I was the whole pig. And he treated my talent asif 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 fromconcern, like my dad. When I realized this, I dubbed my new devotion, “The Church ofFreedom 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 do, I cantell you from experience, the effect you have on others is the most valuable currency there is. (applause)
Everything you gain in life will rot and fall apart, and all that will be left of you is what was inyour heart. My choosing to free people from concern got me to the top of a mountain. Lookwhere I am — look what I get to do! Everywhere I go – and I’m going to get emotionalbecause when I tap into this, it really is extraordinary to me — I did something that makespeople present their best selves to me wherever I go. (applause) I am at the top of themountain and the only one I hadn’t freed was myself and that’s when my search for identitydeepened.
I wondered who I’d be without my fame. Who would I be if I said things that people didn’t wantto hear, or if I defied their expectations of me? What if I showed up to the party without myMardi Gras mask and I refused to flash my breasts for a handful of beads? (laughter) I’ll giveyou a moment to wipe that image out of your mind. (laughter)
But you guys are way ahead of the game. You already know who you are and that peace, thatpeace 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 thewars, play with form all you want, but to find real peace, you have to let the armor fall. Yourneed for acceptance can make you invisible in this world. Don’t let anything stand in the wayof the light that shines through this form. Risk being seen in all of your glory. (A sheet dropsand reveals Jim’s painting. Applause.)
(Re: the painting) It’s not big enough! (kidding) This painting is big for a reason. This paintingis called “High Visibility.” (laughter) It’s about picking up the light and daring to be seen. Here’sthe tricky part. Everyone is attracted to the light. The party host up in the corner (refers topainting) who thinks unconsciousness is bliss and is always offering a drink from the bottlesthat empty you; Misery, below her, who despises the light — can’t stand when you’re doing well— and wishes you nothing but the worst; The Queen of Diamonds who needs a King to build herhouse of cards; And the Hollow One, who clings to your leg and begs, “Please don’t leave mebehind for I have abandoned myself.”
Even those who are closest to you and most in love with you; the people you love most in theworld can find clarity confronting at times. This painting took me thousands of hours tocomplete and — (applause) thank you — yes, thousands of hours that I’ll never get back, I’llnever get them back (kidding) — I worked on this for so long, for weeks and weeks, like a madman alone on a scaffolding — and when I was finished one of my friends said, “This would be acool black light painting.” (laughter)
So I started over. (All the lights go off in the Dome and the painting is showered with blacklight.) Whooooo! Welcome to Burning Man! (applause) Some pretty crazy characters right?Better up there than in here. (points to head) Painting is one of the ways I free myself fromconcern, 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 notthe avatars we create. We’re not the pictures on the film stock. We are the light that shinesthrough it. All else is just smoke and mirrors. Distracting, but not truly compelling.
I’ve often said that I wished people could realize all their dreams of wealth and fame so theycould see that it’s not where you’ll find your sense of completion. Like many of you, I wasconcerned about going out in the world and doing something bigger than myself, untilsomeone smarter than myself made me realize that there is nothing bigger than myself! (laughter)
My soul is not contained within the limits of my body. My body is contained within thelimitlessness of my soul — one unified field of nothing dancing for no particular reason,except maybe to comfort and entertain itself. (applause) As that shift happens in you, youwon’t be feeling the world you’ll be felt by it — you will be embraced by it. Now, I’m always atthe beginning. I have a reset button called presence and I ride that button constantly.
Once that button is functional in your life, there’s no story the mind could create that will beas 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 onlyviewers, but also projectors that are running a second story over the picture we see in front ofus all the time. Fear is writing that script and the working title is, ‘I’ll never be enough.’
You look at a person like me and say, (kidding) “How could we ever hope to reach those kinds ofheights, Jim? How can I make a painting that's too big for any reasonable home? How do youfly so high without a special breathing apparatus?” (laughter)
This is the voice of your ego. If you listen to it, there will always be someone who seems to bedoing better than you. No matter what you gain, ego will not let you rest. It will tell you thatyou cannot stop until you’ve left an indelible mark on the earth, until you’ve achievedimmortality. How tricky is the ego that it would tempt us with the promise of something wealready possess.
So I just want you to relax—that’s my job—relax and dream up a good life! (applause) I had asubstitute teacher from Ireland in the second grade that told my class during Morning Prayerthat when she wants something, anything at all, she prays for it, and promises something inreturn and she always gets it. I’m sitting at the back of the classroom, thinking that my familycan’t afford a bike, so I went home and I prayed for one, and promised I would recite therosary every night in exchange. Broke it—broke that promise. (laughter)
Two weeks later, I got home from school to find a brand new mustang bike with a banana seatand easy rider handlebars — from fool to cool! My family informed me that I had won the bikein a raffle that a friend of mine had entered my name in, without my knowledge. That type ofthing has been happening ever since, and as far as I can tell, it’s just about letting theuniverse know what you want and working toward it while letting go of how it might come topass. (applause)
Your job is not to figure out how it’s going to happen for you, but to open the door in yourhead and when the doors open in real life, just walk through it. Don’t worry if you miss yourcue. There will always be another door 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’strue. I’m just making a conscious choice to perceive challenges as something beneficial sothat I can deal with them in the most productive way. You’ll come up with your own style,that’s part of the fun!
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.Faith leaps over it.
You are ready and able to do beautiful things in this world and after you walk through thosedoors today, you will only ever have two choices: love or fear. Choose love, and don’t ever letfear turn you against your playful heart.
Thank you. Jai Guru Dev. I’m so honored. Thank you.