May 26, 2014 10:38 am

Jim Carrey reflects on father in Iowa commencement speech

WATCH: Highlights from Jim Carrey’s funny and touching commencement speech

TORONTO — Canadian actor Jim Carrey received an honourary degree Saturday from Iowa’s Maharishi University of Management and delivered a commencement speech that blended humour and inspiration.

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“I am here to plant a seed today, a seed that will inspire you to move forward in life with enthusiasm of hearts and a clear sense of wholeness,” said Carrey. “The question is, will that seed have a chance to take root or will I be sued by Monsanto?”

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The comedian, who was born and raised in the Toronto area, shared lessons learned from his father Percy.

“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,” recalled Carrey, 52.

Percy lost the accounting job while Jim was still a child.

“I learned many great lessons from my father, not the least of which was that you could fail at what you don’t love, so you might as well take a chance on doing what you love.”

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Carrey was presented with an honourary Doctor of Fine Arts Honoris Caus from the university, which was founded by transcendental meditation guru Maharishi Mahesh.

Carrey said in his late 20s he realized “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.”

Carrey told graduates they won’t find satisfaction in achieving their dreams of fame and fortune.

“I was concerned about going out into the world and doing something bigger than myself,” he said, “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.”

© Shaw Media, 2014

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