|Toxic Parrot is our state of mind which is self critical, negative and unhelpful for self and others.|
“Do you know that we carry a colourful but very dangerous parrot every moment?”. He asked.
“What? What do you mean by that?” My reply.
“Parrot is a bird, it learns what you teach it, it will recite what he listened without understanding the meaning of that.”
“Yes, parrots are like that. They have a strong memory.”
“But imagine that you get that parrot. You don’t know from where it is. It doesn't have any knowledge, wisdom, or insight.”
“However, this parrot is fed with self-criticism, negative thought and is always critical with others. What will you call that parrot?” He asked me.
“Of course, it is a toxic parrot.” I replied
“Yes, Toxic parrots are specifically trained to be unhelpful to you continuously commenting on you, your life and others in a way that constantly puts you down.”
“This is interesting, I like the metaphor.” Indeed, it was a great metaphor.
“This toxic parrot will always criticize you for everything, putting down your self-image. For example, when you don’t get the promotion in the office, it will criticize that you are not worth for the promotion, you are dumb and there are others more deserving candidates. If you are late for catching a bus, it will say, there you are … late latif… as usual... you can’t, useless.”
“And how this parrot is harmful to others?” I had a question.
“Toxic parrot while criticizing you, it will also criticize others because of unhappiness. It will ask you to blame others. It will give a constant message negatively about others also.”
“You are right, yet we can often put up with the thoughts from this internal bully for far too long. We hear that “parrot‟, believe the “parrot‟, and naturally get upset. That then affects the way we live our lives – the way we behave towards others, how we are, what we think about others, what we think about the world, and how we think and feel about ourselves.” I said.
“Wow, absolutely, you are getting it now” He smiled,
“But how we can keep shut the toxic parrot.”
“There is an Antidote for this.”
“Antidote and how to use that?”
“Simple, just notice that toxic parrot, and cover the cage!”
“Imagine that you are throwing a towel to the cage where the toxic parrot is.”
“Just reinforce the message, there’s that parrot again. I don’t have to listen to it. It’s just a parrot”. He told me, “Then go and do something else. Put your focus of attention on something else, distract yourself from the toxic parrot.”
“Is it so easy? By doing this will it keep its mouth shut?”
“No, this parrot is toxic, and it won’t give up easily, so you’ll need to keep using that antidote and be persistent in your practice! Eventually it will get tired of the towel, tired of you not responding. You’ll notice it less and less. It might just give up its poison as your antidote overcomes it, or perhaps fly off to wherever toxic parrots go.”
(The story is written by Vinod Bidwaik, based on the concept of “The Malevolent Parrot” by Kristina Iving)