The Poisoned Parrot – a mental exercise to try!

So I am not in anyway trying to take credit for this as I did not write it or have anything to do with it but my CPN gave me it and I just think that it is a really good.

We all have demons some people’s are worse and more intense than others but I think this is a good way to try and look at it.

It’s not easy and I am rubbished at it but I’m going to keep trying as I think if you can picture the parrot saying the things you say to yourself it might make it easier to realise what is helpful and what is not.

Here we go:

Imagine you’re given a parrot. This parrot is just a parrot – it dosen’t have any knowledge, wisdom or insight. It’s bird-brained after all. It recites things ‘parrot fashion’ – without any understanding or comprehension. It’s a parrot.

However, this particular parrot is a poisoned parrot. It’s been specifically trained to be unhelpful to you , continuously commenting on you and your life , in a way that constantly puts you down, criticising you.

For example , the bus gets stuck in a traffic jam , and you arrive at work 5 minutes late. The parrot sits there saying: ” There you go again. Late . You just can’t manage to get there on time can you. So stupid. If you’d left the house and got the earlier bus you’d have arrived with loads of time to spare and the boss would be happy. But you? No way. Just can’t do it. Useless. Waste of space. Absolutely pathetic!”

How long would you put up with this abuse before throwing a towel over the cage, or getting rid of the parrot?

Yet we can often put up with the thoughts from this internal bully for far too long. Decades. We hear that ‘parrot’ believe the ‘parrot ‘, and naturally get upset. Then that 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.

We can learn to use the antidote: just notice that parrot, and cover the cage! “There’s that parrot again. I don’t have to listen to it – it’s just a parrot”. Then go and do something else. Put your focus of attention on something other than that parrot. This parrot is poison though, 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 it’s poison as your antidote overcomes it, or perhaps fly off to wherever poisoned parrots go . (C)Carol Vivyan 2010

Source –

If you decide to give this a try let me know how you get on or if you have had any experience with using the ‘poisened parrot or something similar I would love to hear your thoughts on it.

I hope you find this exercise helpful! Thanks for reading!

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