Rise above and release the past

Rise above and release the past



I was sitting in my World Religions class today, basking in a no-mistakes round with the New York Time’s Connections, when my teacher asked us all to disconnect from our “little iPad” worlds.

Now, usually I’m not one to spend absorbent time on my iPad, unlike many of the boys in my classes who enjoy a YouTube stream or reels of Sunday’s football games while the teacher lectures. But this week has been stressful with a capital ‘S’. I’ve had tests in five out of my seven classes and have had little time for a nice walk or some kind of mental or physical tension release. And iPads, with their ability to scroll, jump between apps, or mindlessly sort through emails, provide some sort of auto-pilot quiet that shuts down my stressed mind. So, when I looked up from my iPad and saw my fellow classmates doing the same, I felt a wave of shame.

The teacher continued to give a lecture on Buddhism, talking about how Buddha believed that if at any moment you feel suffering, simply release that which is making you suffer.

At that moment, I was suffering from anxiety over a past APUSH essay and anxiety over a future chemistry test. In Buddhism, the idea is that human desire, or tanha, causes suffering. My desire to save my grade in chemistry and keep my high grade in APUSH was suffering for me. And that desire was overriding my life to the point where only being on an iPad could pacify me.

I’m definitely not rising above the desire for good grades by feeding into another electronic powered want. The feeling of being a baby with a pacifier in my mouth as I rose to look at my religion teacher and the needless stress I was putting on myself woke me up: I needed to rise above these desires, even just for a moment.

  • Maybe that is through what my friend calls “a goldfish state of mind” so that I can keep moving forward despite the past.
  • Maybe it’s through actively choosing to throw away the desire for academic perfection.
  • Or maybe it’s a different way I have yet to discover.


However I can, I’m going to release that suffering and I suggest you do too.


Elisabeth Dellit is an 11th Grader at Jesuit High School. She enjoys reading, writing creative stories, baking/cooking and participating in her school’s drama program.