(Minghui.org) When I was in my 20s, I lived in the mountains of Topanga, California. I had a studio with skylights. One day a hummingbird flew into it and then tried to escape through the skylight by repeatedly flying against the glass. I realized it must be exhausted. 

I got a broom because all it needed to do was get onto the broom and then I could carry it outside. But I realized it was terrified of the broom and, even more frantically, it flew again and again into the skylight. At a critical moment, perhaps at the point of exhaustion, the hummingbird stopped being frantic and just hovered for a moment, staring at the broom. Then it did something amazing: of its own will, it flew right onto the broom bristles with its wings spread wide open. The tiny bird got caught in the bristles, and I was able to take it outside and set it free.

We live in uncertain and dangerous times and we are all being tested. We might think we know how to free ourselves, but what we are doing might not work. The process might even be exhausting us as we keep using our human notions and attachments to approach the challenges of life. As cultivators of Dafa, there are critical moments, critical tests, and even tests where we may face death. Are these moments a bad thing? Or are they a good thing?

Critical Situation

Fast forward 26 years. Today, in a sense, I am that hummingbird. On the surface I am suffering from COVID but in reality I know I am undergoing serious karma elimination. I was lying in a hospital bed in Middletown, N.Y. one cold winter night. Alone and in pain, I struggled to breathe. I hadn’t eaten in 14 days, I was wracked with pain. I couldn’t even walk a few steps to the bathroom. I thought, “Is this really it? Am I passing away? This can’t be right.”

Faced with the possibility of dying, as a practitioner, I felt this was also a test of whether I was truly cultivating. What is the test of whether we practitioners are truly cultivating? To me, it’s making the choice to cultivate with a strong main consciousness and with heart—not just going through the motions. It’s choosing to endure, suffer, take on responsibilities and do the three things with a strong main consciousness and complete unselfishness. Did I really want to live? Did I still have what it takes to truly cultivate? Did I really want to knowingly suffer, endure hardship, be diligent, and do all the things a Dafa disciple should do, knowingly and from the heart? We’ve all discussed the test of death, but how about the test of life/true cultivation? Lying there facing death was testing me to my core. It was like death was asking me, “Do you still have the heart to truly cultivate and do the three things knowingly, consciously, and wholeheartedly?”

Accumulated Qing, Notions, Karma

So, let’s go back to 2019. At that point, I was stuck. Really stuck. Little by little, qing (emotion) and attachment to family had taken precedence over cultivation. I was busy raising my two teenage sons and running a personal business. I was going through the motions of cultivating and I had lost my initial heart to cultivate. Over time, while raising my sons and putting family/qing first, there was a steady and subtle accumulation of karma, attachments, qing, and notions that were blocking me from really, truly cultivating like I had years before in 1998. I knew I was stuck, and I knew it was getting critical, and getting very critical. So, one night, I asked Master for help, to help me make breakthroughs so I could truly cultivate again with a strong main consciousness and with my heart.

Not long after asking for help, from 2019 to the present, I went through at least a dozen serious tests. Each test was painful and mentally grueling, but they were part of a process of removing karma, attachments, qing, and waking me up at the core. Each test was like a masterful combo punch of stick warnings and karma removal. This latest test of dealing with karma elimination, in the form of COVID, was not the most painful test, but perhaps it was the most serious in terms of life and death, and it pushed me to see whether I was truly cultivating.

Tipping Point

The tipping point was when I made an internal decision to truly cultivate again with a strong main consciousness and from the heart. I made a deep internal decision to choose life, to choose true cultivation. This decision was to knowingly choose to suffer, endure hardship, take on responsibilities, do the three things knowingly and from the heart. So, in the hospital bed, I started doing the exercises, listening to the lectures of Master Li (Falun Dafa’s founder) with an open heart, and sending forth righteous thoughts every hour. After I made this internal decision, I went from not being able to walk to the bathroom to being able to drive 12 hours to North Carolina the next day. And then the day after that, I was able to walk a full mile, while listening to the Fa. The hospital environment had not been good for me, but the oxygen and IV fluids helped buy me a little time—time to make some deep internal decisions. I was like that hummingbird: it was time to let go in that critical moment and trust in something bigger, and give myself fully to it.

Removing Karma Is Good

“Whatever you experience during your cultivation—whether good or bad—is good, for it comes about only because you are cultivating.” (“To the Chicago Fa Conference,” The Essentials of Diligent Progress III)

During this recent karma elimination/stick warning process, I lost 25 pounds, which allows me to be more effective in teaching PE classes and other classes, as I am lighter and have more energy. I do not skip sending righteous thoughts anymore. Another practitioner and I wake up at 4:50 a.m. to send righteous thoughts and do the exercises. My heart is more open when studying the Fa. For 24 years of cultivation, my full lotus sitting position was small and low. After this karma elimination, my legs can be pulled up all the way when I meditate. 

I admit it: I needed a bit of help to get through this karma elimination, and the hospital provided oxygen and liquids to give me a bit of strength and buy me some time. However, ultimately, we know vitamins and modern medicine cannot touch the karma at deeper levels, and the karma will resurface again and again unless it’s fundamentally eliminated in deeper dimensions with our cultivated higher energy. The only way to do that is to truly cultivate with a strong main consciousness and an unselfish heart.


It’s important we support each other in these critical times. I noticed some practitioners were really scared of the COVID virus and seemed to stay away from practitioners who showed symptoms. However, two practitioners, who had great compassion and came to my room to send righteous thoughts over and over and to recite the Fa, seemed to have no fear of the virus.

During my interactions with these two practitioners, I realized that my main consciousness and heart to cultivate was lacking. Their presence, support, and influence were very helpful. They helped awaken a stronger main consciousness in me that played a vital role in my overcoming this test when I was alone in the hospital.

Some practitioners who did not even know me came to the hospital to send righteous thoughts. Practitioners from another state also sent righteous thoughts for me and even sent me packages of food and drink. Other practitioners dropped off food at my door. Some called me on the phone to study the Fa and offered words of encouragement and advice. My non-practicing mom, who is 80 years old and cannot walk without a walker, flew to New York, then took a taxi to pick me up from the hospital. We then drove 12 hours back to her home, so she could care for me. Helping, supporting, and thinking of others is such a powerful and important principle that can be vital in that person’s life, especially at critical moments.

I want to thank Master for sticking with this very stubborn practitioner and helping me wake up, even if it’s taken test after test after test and stick warning after stick warning. Even when I try to do things my way, over and over and over, like the hummingbird, and have to reach a critical point before I’m able to wake up and take the Divine path.

Editor’s Note: This article only represents the author’s understanding in their current cultivation state meant for sharing among practitioners so that we can “Compare with one another in study, in cultivation.” (“Solid Cultivation,” Hong Yin)