The Commencement Address I Wasn’t Asked to Give: Be an Inner Astronaut

Dearest Graduates,

Everything you think you know is about to be ripped to shreds. Congratulations! It is the best thing that will ever happen to you. Welcome to life. Consider yourself a young Karate Kid and Life your new Sensei. As you walk off this campus some of you may follow your ambition into halls of power and build resumes of mighty import. Some of you may follow your childhood dream into a respectable profession that pleases everyone around you, including you. A few of you might join The Hustle of Hard Work to make ends meet because that is what you were taught was noble and honorable. A few of you may just wander in the direction of your heart, displease everyone, read books for years, be hungry, make art, grow crops, build tiny or big things, or create something entirely new. Go forth and experiment with this life, see what you can create, fondle, and worship. Go throw ideas around, try hard, be lazy, and discover what is authentic to you. What would you do if you knew you couldn’t fail? That thing that just popped into your head. Go do that. Seriously. Go out and play!

The truth, you will eventually discover, is that is doesn’t matter. What you do doesn’t matter at all.

Mountain View

Follow Your Longing

One day, a few years from now, when you reach some great level of achievement or experience a brutal failure, you will realize you have no idea who you are and what the hell is going on here. Everything you thought to be true about the world is suddenly up for debate. In the great and infinite space of the unknown, you will float untethered. You will realize that no one knows what we are doing here and most everyone is pretending to, especially you. In this infinite space of the unknown you may suffer from a deep feeling of isolation. You will long for connection, for aliveness, and for a sense of home. You will long for this thing, this thing without a name, and try to find it in a partner, a job, a guru, money, or a house. But nothing will give it to you. Nothing.

Because after you play the game of life for a while, after your ego is tired of pushing, your mind tired of seeking control it can never maintain, and your heart covered in armor from a few major tears, a time will come to stop. Just stop. A time will come when doing is no longer as important as being and in a quiet moment in the chaos you will ask yourself, “Who am I? Why am I here?”

Discover the Life that is Waiting for You

Now this is the moment, young graduates, you have arrived. You have broken through the many layers of mind to hear the small voice of your soul that is asking you to stop, look around, and discover what is really going on here. Life, your sensei, has been working with you all along. You have done everything right, even the screw-ups.  No matter how blissful or painful your life has been to this point, she has been guiding you here to this moment. It is time to stop playing the game of life as it has been designed, but instead make the game anew. You have just been given your helmet and space suit and it is time to become an Inner Astronaut. You are now ready to inquire within.

In this moment get real quiet. Just breathe. You are a scientist observing the experiment and the experiment is you. Slowly, as you breathe and learn to quiet your mind you will learn you have a mind, you are not the mind. And that you have a body but are not the body. You are something else. It won’t make sense at first and don’t trust me, run your own experiment. Lean into that longing and follow it with a child’s curiosity wherever it leads. Learn how to observe your mind and not be run by it. Treat it like an innocent child and you its' loving parent. Get into your body by any means necessary. Learn how to feel. Leaning into your longing will eventually guide you home.


Don’t Try to Avoid Pain, Harness It

Most of us spend our time doing everything possible to avoid pain. Forget all that. I am here to tell you that pain will be your greatest teacher and when harnessed it will make you come fully alive in service to the world. All the layers of armor we have built against pain and feeling fill us up and char our insides. The armor becomes physical illness, depression, addiction, and myth making. Whether your childhood was shitty or perfect, spend a little time seeing how it built you and the beliefs you are carrying. The beliefs that create the eyes you see through, create through, abuse through, and love through. Heal the patterns passed down to you from your mother and father and their parents before them. Especially, the beliefs around money or that tricky little pattern of blaming others for your lot in life or avoiding conflict or believing that love = pain, etc. Begin to unpack it, tease it apart, take responsibility for it, forgive yourself for believing it in the first place and let it go. Do it for you, and by default, you will be doing your family, country, and planet the greatest service of all. 

Have a thin skin. Be open, vulnerable, and raw to the touch. Pain and joy, all of life, is meant to move through you. Find the pain points, the triggers that give you gas, all the things that drive you crazy and push you into a state of righteousness and follow them into the shadow of you. It always seems more frightening that it actually is. Be brave. When you stand at the precipice about to jump you will have the paralyzing fear that you will lose your mind. You might. Thank God. It may only last a few seconds but in that glorious minute sans mind you will experience the greatest and profound freedom and love and perfection. It is there just beyond your fear. It is always there. It is the essence of who you truly are.

Become a Gamemaker

In this place you stop playing the old game, the one designed by an unchecked mind, and become a Gamemaker. In this place you re-design the game of life and come fully alive in service to the world.