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FENG SHUI DESCRIPTION
Practiced in China for over a thousand years, feng shui is the ancient Asian art of arranging living and working space to bring physical and spiritual benefits. Derived from the same philosophy as acupuncture and other traditional Chinese therapies, it seeks to harmonize the flow of qi ("life energy") within a room or building to enhance the health, happiness, and prosperity of those who live and work there. Feng shui has had a major impact on the development of cities such as Hong Kong and Taipei, and there is growing interest in the UK, North America, and Australasia.
MAIN USES OF FENG SHUI
Personal development. Stress-related problems. Emotional problems, including poor relationships, inability to make decision, loneliness, and lack of self-confidence.
The Luo Pan Compass is a traditional feng shui tool, made individually for the practitioner, to determine "energy patterns" and other information.
Literally translated as "wind" and "water", feng shui (pronounces "fung shoy") has its roots in the ancient Chinese belief that environmental forces shape human destiny. According to legend, a Chinese ruler, Fu Hsi, saw a tortoise emerging from the Lo River and realized that the markings on its shell symbolized universal principles. He used this pattern to devise eight configerations of energetic forces, known as trigrams, which became the basis of the hugely influential work of divination, the I Ching (Book of Changes). Considered on oracle by feng shui masters at imperial courts, it was later used throughout China as a guide to decision making.
Feng shui has survived the centuries and is taken so seriously in the Far East that Western companies based there are often obliged to acknowledge it when designing new offices. In this way, knowledge of the art is now spreading to the West.
Based on the same principles as those of Traditional Chinese Medicine, feng shui is sometimes referred to as "space acupuncture". In the same way that an imbalance between yin and yang in the body is believed to disrupt health, disharmony in one's surroundings is said to have a negative effect on all aspects of life, from relationships to financial affairs.
Landscapes, buildings, rooms, even the tops of tables, are said to have their own flow of qi or "life energy", and feng shui encourages blocked or depleted qi to move freely in a given area by altering the layout. To plot the flow of qi, an octagonal "map", known as the ba-gua, may be superimposed on the ground plan of a building or room.
The eight "houses" of the ba-gua, based on the compass points and the eight trigrams, each relate to different aspects of life. In feng shui, this mystic tool is used to plan and assess buildings and rooms.
If one section of the ba-gua is missing, or badly arranged, problems are expected in the corresponding area of the occupant's lives.
The Chinese concepts of the trigrams and the "five elements" - earth, fire, water, wood, and metal - are also key factors in feng shui. Depending on the school of feng shui to which the practitioner belongs, each element may be associated with a compass point, color, season, and number. The relationship between the elements is used to assess feng shui in the home or workplace and create a state of harmony. The occupant's dates of birth are often taken into account, since these too can be categorized according to the five elements. Some practitioners also use a "map" of five symbolic animals to analyze a space.
In the West, "space clearing" techniques may be used in addition to, or instead of feng shui. Ceremonial rituals drawn from Native American, Pagan-Wiccan, Zulu, Maori and Balinese cultures, involving bell-ringing, incense burning or smudging, broom sweeping, incantations, blessed salt-water sprinkling, and the use of stones and/or crystals, are used to "cleanse" and consecrate buildings.
PRINCIPLES OF FENG SHUI
UNDERSTANDING THE PRINCIPLES OF FENG SHUI
Everyone appreciates the benefits of beautiful, comfortable living environments; America's billion-dollar interior decorating industry attests to this fact. However, Feng Shui takes the approach that your surroundings affect not just your level of material comfort but also your physical and mental health, your relationships, and your worldly success.
Feng Shui (pronounced "fung shway") examines how the placement of things and objects within it affect the energy flow in your living environment, and how these objects interact with and influence your personal energy flow. Your personal energy flow affects how you think and act, which in turn affects how well you perform and succeed in your personal and professional life. Feng Shui affects you every moment of the day, whether you're aware of it or not.
As you begin to discover more about Feng Shui, remember that you need to have an open mind and should use the methods that are most comfortable for your particular circumstances.
DEMYSTIFYING FENG SHUI
If you've already read a bit about Feng Shui, you may be somewhat confused by the seemingly contradictory advice you've encountered. People who are unfamiliar with this method may have some misconceptions and apprehension.
Feng Shui is not
So the million-dollar question is, what is Feng Shui?
- A get-rich-quick method of Asian interior design that guarantees impossible results for mystically rearranging your furniture.
- A superstitious or magical belief system, or a New Age fad that disconnects you from reality or from your daily life.
- A simple home and garden makeover.
- A quick fix to be tackled in one afternoon.
- A luxury only the rich and famous can afford.
On the surface, Feng Shui is the simple interaction of humans and their environments. Taken a step further, Feng Shui enables you to influence these interacting energies to achieve specific life improvements. This influence is achieved by positioning or designing your surroundings in harmony with principles of natural energy flow. As a result, you (and your life) can achieve harmony with your surroundings. Feng Shui is practical and grounding, and it helps you right where you live and work.
Feng Shui is often referred to as the art of placement. How you place your furniture, possessions, and yourself within your surroundings largely determines your life experience at every level. Feng Shui offers a unique way of looking at yourself and your environment, and it provides a way of bringing balance, comfort, and harmony into your environment in a manner that is difficult to achieve by any other means.
Feng Shui is the study of the relationships between the environment and human life. Discovered by the Chinese, Feng Shui has been practiced for centuries to design environments that enhance conditions for success in life.
Interesting bits of historical Feng Shui confirmation are starting to emerge. For example, recent scientific research indicates that 28,000 years ago, Neanderthal cavemen (located in present-day Croatia) chose which caves to live in based on three criteria: The caves held the high ground in the area, the surrounding area was easily seen from the entrance of the cave, and the water source was easily accessible. These findings show that even our ancestors were naturally aware of the effects of placement in their environment. Interestingly enough, all three of these criteria are in harmony with the basic principles of Feng Shui, which has evolved and become more sophisticated along with humankind. Thus, Feng Shui is as relevant and beneficial to humankind today as it was 28,000 years ago.
FENG WHO? THE MEANING OF THE TERM FENG SHUI
Feng Shui is a term composed of two Chinese words: feng (wind) and shui (water). Wind and water are the two natural elements that flow, move, and circulate everywhere on Earth. They are also the most basic elements required for human survival. Wind - or air - is the breath of life; without it, we would die in moments. And water is the liquid of life; without it, we would die in days. The combined qualities of wind and water determine the climate, which historically has determined our food supply and in turn affects our lifestyle, health, energy, and mood. These two fundamental and flowing elements have always profoundly yet subtly influenced human individuals and societies.
The essence of these life-giving elements is chi, or life force. Wind and water are direct carriers of chi, as their flowing quality reflects their essential nature. All living organisms are largely composed of these two elements. Thus, Feng Shui is the art of designing environments in harmony with the flow of chi through one’s living space, and this flow supports and enhances one’s personal chi or life force.
THE BIG PICTURE VIEW OF FENG SHUI
Feng Shui is rooted in a holistic worldview. It sees all things and creatures as part of a natural order, a vast environment that is alive and in flux, ever moving and changing. Each thing in this natural order is equally alive and has an energetic value or component. So everything - plants, animals, people, and things - exists in a vast landscape that swirls with vital energy. The same energy that flows through the world flows through you as well. In fact, according to this view, your essence - the part of you that makes you alive, unique, and vital - is this energy. And your body is the vehicle or environment in which this essence flows.
Feng Shui divides the vast environment or landscape that is the universe into more manageable units, like human beings and their homes, property, offices, living rooms, and bedrooms. You can't control the Feng Shui of the world at large. But Feng Shui enables you to design your personal environment according to the same universal principles of energy flow by which planets spin in their orbits and galaxies wheel through space.
EVIDENCE & RESEARCH
No studies have been carried out in the West on feng shui, and research into related therapies, such as acupuncture, has failed to prove the existence of qi.
CONVENTIONAL MEDICAL OPINION
Feng shui lies outside the boundries of Western medical expertise and seems removed from the conventional approach to illness and treatment. However, conventional health care providers acknowledge that social and psychological factors can affect health, and the pathological effects of discord and disorder may merit some consideration.
CONSULTING A PRACTITIONER
A feng shui consultation usually involves a visit to your home or workplace by a practitioner. The length of the visit depends on the size of the building, but is generally 1 to 2 hours. During the session, the practitioner will ask you about any areas in your life or business that you feel are in need of attention, and may also ask for the dates of birth of all the members in the household or key members of staff at your workplace.
The practitioner will make a detailed assessment of each room in the building. After the consultation, she will send you a report listing suggested changes. This may involve choosing a new color scheme, moving plants or ornaments, or avoiding certain areas altogether. For example, a washbowl in the marriage corner of your bedroom may be causing marital harmony to drain away, and the practitioner will advise that its use is discontinued. You can discuss any queries with the practitioner by telephone.
It is also possible to consult a feng shui practitioner by mail by sending her a floor plan of your home or workplace.
There are various simple steps you can take to improve the feng shui of your surroundings. To enable qi to flow freely, remove clutter from rooms and surfaces, and make sure there is plenty of space around furniture. Check that items such as clocks are in working order, and repair broken furniture. Healthy plants attract qi and can counteract the electromagnetic fields surrounding computers or televisions. Avoid sharp-leaved plants, however, which are believed to "cut" qi. Long-stemmed flowers and images of "airy" objects, such as balloons, direct the flow of qi upward. Mirrors should be used with care, as they reflect qi and can disturb energy patterns.
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FENG SHUI PRODUCTS
Amazon.com has a large selection of feng shui decoration, books, DVDs, and VCR tapes about feng shui available for purchase.
Amazon: Feng Shui Products
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