Feng Shui – Harmony and Balance
posted by Foon Chik
- Feng Shui -
Feng Shui – Bringing Harmony and Balance into Your Space
You’ve probably heard of Feng Shui (pronounced Fung Schway) being described as the placement of furniture, but there’s more to it than that!
The origins of Feng Shui go back to ancient China where it was developed as a means to live in harmony with nature. Feng Shui is concerned with the effect of the environment and with the structure and interiors of buildings. A location within a landscape of good Feng Shui is said to promote good fortune for its inhabitants. For a particular home or business, the occupants can experience good health, joyful relationships and abundance or they can experience sickness, distress and scarcity depending on the influence of the Feng Shui of the property. ‘Feng’ literally means ‘Wind’ and ‘Shui’ means water. So how does the study of wind and water help us achieve health, wealth, fame and fortune?
Feng Shui is the study of how to create beautifully balanced environments. In Feng Shui we aim to stop chi being dispersed by the wind (feng) and to retain chi with water (shui). Chi (also spelt qi) can be described as the vital life force energy that is everywhere. In our surroundings, collecting good chi together in a location brings a sense of well-being. In order for a location to be favourable, chi needs to circulate and barriers (referred to as mountains in Feng Shui terms) prevent chi from being dissipated too quickly by the wind. Water holds chi, but we do not want the chi to stagnate so there needs to be a balance. It is difficult to find an exact word in English as a translation of chi, as chi is sometimes matter and sometimes energy. In saying that chi everywhere, chi is also your soul and your destiny or luck.
In Chinese philosophy, there are 3 types of luck: heaven luck, earth luck and man luck (let’s now call that human luck - we are in the 21st century!). In a modern context these three types of luck or chi translate into what you where born with, the influences of your environment and the luck you create for yourself and can be considered as time, space and action. Feng Shui deals with the earth or space aspect and can be considered to be a third of the story. Chinese Astrology (known as Four Pillars of Destiny) looks at your heaven luck or timings in life and can be considered another third of your luck. However, the most important aspect of your luck is in the choices you make and the actions you take in living your life – this is your human chi.
So how does Feng Shui work? First of all Feng Shui does work - that is the authentic Chinese Feng Shui which is concerned with chi flows in time and space. As yet, there have not been any scientific processes to prove that Feng Shui works, however who knows what discoveries there could be about chi in the future? Nevertheless, there is evidence that Feng Shui works from the benefits that have been gained by those who have had consultations where the techniques were successfully applied.
A professional Feng Shui Practitioner properly trained in the most powerful genuine method of Chinese Feng Shui, known as Time-Space Feng Shui or Flying Stars would cover all three aspects of your chi within a consultation. This means as well as mapping the chi flows outside and inside the home or business premises, a qualified practitioner would analyse the birth data of the occupants and recommend specific follow-up actions. In analysing the property, a practitioner would need to use a compass to take various measurements to determine the facing of the building and ask you for the date that it was built and about major renovations. This would facilitate a chart to be drawn for the property and the placement of cures. Furthermore, Feng Shui does change with time and the practitioner should advise you of when an update is needed.
Whilst a professional consultation is individual to each person and their space, be it home or work, there are some general principles on feng shui, which you can apply yourself. Lets start by considering that feng shui is about bringing harmony into our surroundings and that we can do this by having sheng chi or good energy or positive energy around us.
So how do we produce positive energy or sheng chi? Here are some general tips:
- Keep your surroundings tidy. Throw away items that you don’t use or don’t love. Old stuff hanging around in your space will drain your energy.
- Only keep objects that are beautiful. Remove ugly and evil looking objects. If you look at the ornaments and pictures you have around, do they invoke positive thoughts and feelings?
- If you own items that are usable but you have negative associations with them (e.g. a gift from a past lover where the relationship soured) give them to somebody who can make use of it without the heart-rending feelings.
These points are based on the underlying principle that sheng chi is produced by beautiful objects. Beauty is the in the eye of the beholder, so what you have in your space should be considered as being attractive to yourself. However, if the space is a workspace where clients come, such as an office, therapy room or retail space, then common consensus as to what is good-looking needs to be considered as well.
Pleasant smells can of course constitute sheng chi and this reminds us that chi touches all our senses. Unpleasant smells are known as sha chi, which is negative energy, the opposite to sheng qi. Here are some general indicators on avoiding sha chi:
- Replace withering dying flora straight away, as these are a source of sha chi. Fill your pots and vases with fresh, vibrant plants and flowers. Mow the lawn and get rid of weeds.
- Notice where energy rushes too quickly. An example would be a building on the side of a long straight road where traffic moves past at fast speed. This is equivalent to being by the side of a rushing torrential river.
- Obstructions such as trees and poles outside doors and windows are sha chi as are sharp corners pointing directly through doors and windows. Avoid choosing places which such features.
So sha chi can be associated with unhealthy and dying energies, rushing energies and energies that are ‘pointing at you’. Pollution can also be considered sha chi and that is far too prevalent in our modern world.
Fresh Air and Outdoors
In feng shui we say that chi approaches from the eight directions, now depending on the flying star chart of a particular property, some of these energies will be beneficial and some less so in the present time. Nevertheless, it is considered good feng shui to have ventilation. Therefore, open windows regularly so that the energies can circulate around your home or workplace. Avoid having draughts that rush through the building. An example would be if the front door and back door of a house were in a straight line and if both doors were opened the gusts would cause one of the doors to slam shut. This would apply to a door and a window in a straight line. In such circumstances, having a door or screen in between would slow down the chi and avoid the rushing effect. So another top tip is:
- Get fresh air and sunlight to come indoors regularly by opening doors and windows, but avoid through draughts, so the chi can circulate gently.
Talking of fresh air, it is good for us to get out into the fresh air regularly and see the beauty of nature. In ancient China, feng shui studies involved studying mountains and rivers and beautiful landscapes were considered good feng shui. So what is outdoors also affects the feng shui of our space. We’ve already mentioned avoiding having trees and poles directly outside our doors and windows and the perils presented by being on the side of busy roads. Other things to look out for externally include:
- Litter free and clean pavements are considered to be good feng shui.
- A building that is considerably higher than its neighbours and stands out prominently destroys harmony and this is not good feng shui. A neighbourhood were all the buildings are similar heights is more harmonious.
- Graveyard and funeral parlours are places of sorrow, so it is best not to be located too close to these places.
A few more general tips that you can safely apply at home and work are:
- In the bedroom, sleep with your head against a headboard or a solid wall behind you. If there are mirrors in your bedroom, make sure they are positioned such that you cannot see your own reflection whilst lying in bed.
- Sitting at your desk such that you have a solid wall behind you will leave you feeling supported. Sitting in a chair with a high back and arms will make you feel more protected. When seated, being able to see the door and who enters the room will give you a sense of security.
- In a treatment or therapy room create an atmosphere that is conducive to relaxation. Clear the energies in between clients by using the sound of metal, sounding wind-chimes or Tibetan bowls or playing piano music.
Faux Feng Shui
Some of you may be wondering by now why this article hasn’t talked about wealth corners and relationship corners? That’s what a lot of feng shui books and articles talk about. There is a method of feng shui that takes the wall with the door to the house as being the career area and the other areas relative to the doors as follows:
ProsperityArea Fame Area Relationship Area Family Area Children Area Knowledge Area Career Area Helpful Friends Area Door here
The good news is that this method of feng shui is very simple, the bad news is that it is not about balancing chi and is not authentic feng shui.
This method of feng shui was invented in California in the 1980’s and is known as Black Hat, and also variously as life stations theory or even ba gua. We do use the ba gua in classical Chinese Feng Shui, but not in this way. The ba gua refers to the eight trigrams in the eight directions.
I’ve given you some feng shui tips you can apply at home based on genuine Chinese Feng Shui principles and a little warning about faux feng shui. To finish off, my final tip is very easy to apply everywhere you go, each of us emits chi to those around us, so remember to think beautiful thoughts and smile!
Smiles and Sheng Chi!
In the media, Foon has appeared on TV (CNN, Sky 1), on local and national radio (Radio 4, Classic Gold), international radio (BBC World Service) and in the press (The Mirror, Spirit & Destiny magazine). Visit www.fengshuibritain.co.uk for more information or call Foon on 020 8332 7588 or 07740 940888.
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The Complete Idiots Guide to Feng Shui (Second Edition) by Elizabeth Moran and Master Joseph Yu ISBN 0-02-864339-9 .