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Jim Carrey gives commencement speech at Maharishi University of Management

(Maharishi University of Management)

Jim Carrey surprised graduates at the Maharishi University of Management in Fairfield, Iowa, with a funny, emotional commencement speech in which he told them a poignant story about his father and urged them to walk their own path in life and never settle.

“The decisions we make in this moment are based in either love or fear. So many of us chose our path out of fear disguised as practicality. What we really want seems impossibly out of reach and ridiculous to expect so we never ask the universe for it. I’m saying I’m the proof that you can ask the universe for it. And if it doesn’t happen for you right away, it’s only because the universe is so busy fulfilling my order. 

If you are wondering about the Maharishi University of Management, it is an accredited school that offers degrees in traditional subjects as well as new fields, such as “Sustainable Living” and “Maharishi Vedic Science” and that employs an approach to learning called consciousness-based education. All students and faculty practice Transcendental Meditation® (TM) technique, which the university says helps people learn because it reduces stress, “integrates” brain functioning” and boosting creativity and intelligence. According to the website, “students also study each subject in light of fundamental principles of their own consciousness,” and take one course  at a time, with a new subject every month. The school was founded by Maharishi Mahesh Yogi in 1973.

If you are wondering why Jim Carrey was at the Maharishi University of Management giving the commencement speech and accepting an honorary degree of doctorate of fine arts, the school’s website says that he practices TM and has been to the school before. Last fall, he spoke to students in the David Lynch Masters in Film program, and he has supported the David Lynch Foundation’s initiative to bring TM to at-risk students, war veterans, and women and children who have been subjected to abuse. Last year, Carrey published a children’s book, called “How Roland Rolls“, which the MUM Website says “presents the classical wisdom of Vedanta.” The book is about a wave that is scared of dying when he reaches the shore but realizes that he is just part of the entire ocean.

The high point of the speech was when Carrey talked about his father, who he said had the ability to be a comedian but took the safe employment route and became an accountant but lost his job. 

“I learned many, many lessons from my father, but not least of which is that you can fail at something you don’t want, so you might as well take a chance doing what you love.”

Carrey also told the students:

“I’m here to plant a seed today. A seed that will inspire you to go forward in your 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?”

The MUM website says Carrey was honored for “his significant lifetime achievements as a world-renown comedian and actor, artist, author and philanthropist,” including starting The Better U Foundation, which addresses  global food security



Valerie Strauss covers education and runs The Answer Sheet blog.



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Valerie Strauss · May 28, 2014

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