The core idea behind Delta Psychology is when our emotions harmonize (or at least calm where you can experience them with awareness), they can liberate vital energy that will support our healing forces. I’m not claiming that simply feeling and integrating our emotions in a more serene manner is enough to cure an illness. However, it’s clear that painful emotions tied to past events and situations that continue to echo and darken our present life certainly aggravate illnesses.
Two related energies that are highly disturbing and destructive are resentment and guilt. Like other emotions, they have an intensity that varies according to individuals and their personal history. The former can run from a superficial little grudge to the most tenacious anger or hatred. The latter can go from simple, slight regret to shame or a permanent feeling of lack of value. Each case has a common trajectory: resentment consists of negative energies that we direct at others, while with guilt, we direct these negative energies onto ourself. The goal of Delta Psychology is to rebalance these two destabilizing and extremely destructive emotions.
Resentment and guilt use the support of thoughts, but they also draw from much deeper layers that escape our conscious mind. This is why the work on conscious thought is not enough to defuse these two “intimate poisons.” We must find a way to reach the strata below the surface of our being. Delta Psychology accomplishes this by way of symbolic acts. (Ritual acts and symbolism is to the unconscious what words and speech are to the conscious.) I’m referring here to simple techniques, often based on writing, that always respect both individual personality and ethics.
Of course, simple symbolic acts cannot, by themselves, resolve conflicts whose resonance has registered deeply within us. For that, there are effective psychotherapeutic techniques adapted to different types of internal suffering. Delta Psychology simply offers to help you maintain a more serene relationship with these disturbing emotions, to be able to look them in the face so that they stop sapping your precious vital energy. This energy could be feeding your healing capacities if it weren’t engulfed in conflicts belonging to the past, playing on a repeating loop. At the present moment, you need all your energy to deconstruct your illness. Certain emotional conflicts play an integral role in your antihealth imbalances. The symbolic acts of Delta Psychology specifically target them.
Being able to think about these conflicts and these relationship problems with a bit more serenity will liberate a good part of this healing energy. If the vague but weighty image of these emotional conflicts disturbs you, it’s because they’re buried deep inside, sometimes concealed, or even denied. And this negation always consumes a lot of energy, on a psychological and mental level, as well as a physical level.
In one situation a person has hurt you, betrayed you, wounded you, which leads to resentment. You, in turn, hold a grudge against that person. Or a parallel scenario is if you have deeply hurt someone and you nourish a great sense of guilt as a result of it. In each case, this event, which is rooted in the past, mobilizes, consumes, and engulfs part of the vitality you need in the present. To dispel these deleterious emotions, you must detach yourself from this past to reclaim all that energy in the present. As Wayne W. Dyer, PhD, says in 10 Secrets of Success and Inner Peace, “To live with guilt (or resentment) is to use up your present moments being immobilized over what has already transpired. No amount of guilt will ever undo what’s been done…Releasing guilt is like removing a huge weight from your shoulders…You empower yourself with love and respect, letting go of standards of perfection and refusing to use up the precious currency of your life, the now.”
Releasing resentment or guilt doesn’t involve “forgiving” (someone else or yourself), at least not in the Judeo-Christian or Buddhist sense of the term. It’s not about absolving anyone of blame, whether the hurtful act was committed by you (guilt) or by someone else (resentment). True forgiveness doesn’t involve a decision. It doesn’t happen by waving the magic wand of conscious will. Nevertheless, the ritual gestures of Delta Psychology can help you activate the intention, the will, or even the simple desire within you to recapture this vital energy that has been sapped in a sterile and useless way by the memory of a hurtful. These symbolic gestures don’t erase what happened in the past, but they help bring back to the present the energy that is uselessly tied up in feelings of resentment or guilt. The energy that was dead from these negative feelings becomes living now that it’s available once again.
Whatever has already happened belongs to the past and is unchangeable. But nobody can predict the future from which the thread of the cloth of our life will be woven. Between the past and the future, we live in a perpetually moving present, like a point observed from above that moves along a trajectory. However, this is the point that we must concentrate on, because for whatever steadiness or movement there is, it is only here in the present that we have the power to act. It is in this present moment that we are sick. In this moment we are conscious agents of each moment of life. And it is in this present moment that we are therefore able to modify some of our habits in a way that favorably influences the oscillations of our life balance.
Expressing Our Wish to Pardon
You may wonder what “ritual act” or “symbolic act” refers to. I’m talking about a very real act, but one that reaches the level of the virtual; it’s an act that is simple for your conscious brain to understand and accomplish, but also has the valuable ability to deliver a perceptible message to the unconscious.
One part of the symbolic act of Delta Psychology will consist of a “wish to pardon.” While striving for inner peace, your unconscious will hear, understand, and integrate. This doesn’t mean that the emotional pardon will be granted in one fell swoop. A true pardon takes time. If one day it does occur, it will give you total liberation, which will be very beneficial. But when you are ill, time is of the essence. You don’t have the time to wait for a pardon. You’ll discover that it’s always possible to start expressing your wish to pardon your unconscious, to reclaim some of the emotional energy that you need immediately. The essence of this major idea of psychology is perfectly summarized in the famous sermon by Martin Luther King, Jr., “Forgiveness does not mean ignoring what has been done or putting a false label on an evil act. It means, rather, that the evil act no longer remains as a barrier to the relationship.” This is what you must understand and apply: this voluntary step that you take is going to bring down an emotional barrier that is holding captive a valuable part of your life energy. It is a courageous act that will strengthen your sense of self-worth. This is both the practical and powerful aspect of the technique.
The first thing you’ll do is connect yourself with this wish to pardon. You’re going to make a mental image out of it and formulate it as follows: Yes, I want to make peace with the emotions that make me suffer. Yes, I want to liberate myself from this resentment or this guilt that rules me.
There is an excellent reason for this. Resentment feeds on the desire for revenge: you want to make the person who hurt you suffer, to pay him back for inflicting that pain. But in doing this, you’re the only one who’s suffering. The other person, the guilty party, is unaware of this obsessive wish that troubles you so. What a waste!
On the other hand, by formalizing your wish to pardon, you don’t absolve the other of the fault; rather, you begin to free yourself of a very weighty emotional and mental burden.
It works the same way with guilt. If the feeling of guilt is essential because it makes us conscious of good and evil, of justice and injustice, chronic guilt has no emotional utility whatsoever. It does no good to the person you’ve hurt; all it does is haunt you, trouble you, in a sterile dynamic that only harms you.
The wish to pardon another, the wish to pardon oneself—these are the first two symbolic keys of Delta Psychology.
Excerpt from Yann Rougier MD’s book Delta Medicine. Reprinted with permission from the publisher Inner Traditions International.