What is it?
Love your environment as part of you and it will embrace you with universal peace in return. This is feng shui in its purity.
Feng shui (pronounced fung shway) is not superstition, religion or magic. Literally meaning “wind and water,” it is steeped in a philosophy based on the benefits to be gained from creating harmony and balance around us. Originally devised in China, feng shui was a system to protect people from climactic and environmental conditions, such as harsh winds and untamed waters.
Thousands of years later, it has developed in complexity and is now used to enhance every area of peoples’ lives. You do not need to become an expert in feng shui to create harmony and balance around you. Simply developing an awareness of how these energies affect your living space will benefit you tremendously.
The fundamental principle of Feng Shui is similar to notions of modern physics: All things contain their own energy. Everything has a life force called chi … and it’s possible to tap into this energy to affect and change our lives.
The energy of one’s environment should be balanced so it can flow freely and effortlessly, like fresh air. Chi enters and leaves rooms through windows and doors; it should never become stuck, stagnant, depleted or too concentrated. To change the energies in your living space, rearrange furniture and accessories so your flow is meandering and leisurely. This will produce more auspicious energies than if the flow is straight and fast.
In addition to rearranging for a change of flow in your home, you can improve your feng shui with the use of a tool called a Ba Gua. As far back as Confucius, the Chinese linked a moral order of five virtues — humanity, righteousness, decorum, wisdom and good faith — with the natural order, as symbolized by the five elements -- wood, metal, fire, water and earth. Each of these virtues is represented by an element and associated with a life aspiration (such as career or family), a color and a compass direction, as mapped on the Ba Gua. Use this to improve different aspects of your life.
For example, let’s say you want to improve your career. The virtue you want to focus on is wisdom, the color to use is black, the element is water and the direction is north. One solution to energize your career aspiration would be to place an aquarium with black and gold fish (eight gold and one black is an auspicious combination) in the north sector of your living room or home office.
To use the Ba Gua, first determine the orientation of your home, using a compass if necessary. Then click here for a Ba Gua you can print out. Superimpose the Ba Gua’s eight trigrams on your home, room, garden or office and look for clues about the interrelationship of what is happening in your life as it relates to your environment.
Once you know where each sector lies in relation to your own home, you can change your life aspirations by applying an appropriate element and color in the right location, or removing an element or color that’s in the wrong location. The elements can be represented physically or symbolically … red drapery or a triangle-shaped object can add a strong fire element to your living space.
How can you tell if you are suffering from bad Feng Shui?
The flow of your living space affects your energy outside. If you’re trying to attain a goal but keep getting blocked, look at how you’re treating the nooks and corners in your living space: They may be causing obstacles to your energy flow.
Look for "poison arrows" that may be disrupting your home by blocking good chi. These include exposed beams and open bookshelves. Soften these harmful edges by placing a plant in front of them, sandpapering the edges to "blunt" the blade, or arranging your books to sit flush with the edge so the blades disappear.
The best ways to improve feng shui in your home include removing clutter, rearranging furniture, changing negative decorative features and the use of “cures” such as plants, water, wind chimes, color and crystals.
The energy flow of your home starts at the door. It should be well-defined, clear of clutter, and bright and open. Remove mirrors opposite your entryway door. The mirror will reflect beneficial chi out of your home before it has a chance to enter.
Occasional insomnia might be the result of unbalanced energy in your bedroom. Try the following suggestions, but if your room design doesn’t permit perfect feng shui, be creative.
- Place your headboard against a wall to ground your power.
- Place your bed diagonally opposite the door so you have a commanding view of the mouth of the Chi and will be in the best position to receive life-force energy as it enters the room. Sleeping is a vulnerable state, so it’s important that your bedroom be supportive to your being.
- Do not sleep with your head or feet directly pointed at the door. It’s believed this is a disruptive sleeping position because when a corpse leaves a room it goes feet first. Remember to put your best foot forward … except when you’re asleep.
- Avoid putting the head of the bed under a window or exposed beam which gives off bad energy. If it must be under a window, keep the curtains drawn.
- The use of mirrors in your home can create good and bad energy and bedroom mirrors are strictly taboo. Believed to cause infidelity and bad luck, avoid them in this room, particularly opposite the foot of your bed. If you must include them, drape them with cloth or suppress the negative energy with plants or wind chimes.
The heart of family life, the living room is where you kick back, relax and enjoy. The energy flow of this all-important room is essential. The living room should be clutter free and not over-furnished.
- Arrange furniture to create a leisurely, meandering flow.
- Soft, rounded sofas and chairs with high backs symbolize support in the lives of family members.
- Hang pictures of friends and family on the east wall to enhance the family and health sector (refer to the Ba-Gua).
- Place stereo equipment on the west wall to bring extra luck to your home.
- Dispel negative chi caused by televisions (due to the electrical field they emanate) by hiding them behind entertainment center doors or strategically placed plants.
The energy of the chef is cooked into the food, so it’s important to create a balanced environment. Placing your stove next to or directly opposite your sink or refrigerator will cause a clash between the fire and water elements. Leave space between them and place your stove in the south, rotating your use of each burner to encourage the flow of prosperity.
Place portraits of food or a large mirror in your dining area to promote abundance.
Spiky leaves generate "poison arrows." Choose round leafed varieties instead. Plants are cures for protruding corners and exposed beams.
Fix and repair windows. They affect one’s clarity, so replace broken glass panes and clean the windows. Chi flows through windows even when they’re closed.
If you have long corridors or cramped spaces in your home, paint them white and keep them well lit to ensure a better energy flow.
Natural lighting, as well as artificial lighting, is important. You can enhance light further with mirrors to boost the energy in the home, increase opportunities and broaden possibilities.
Mirrors can correct many problems, but they must be used properly. When placed badly, mirrors can cause problems, especially in the bedroom.
When part of your floor plan is missing a corner, place a mirror on the opposite wall to “create” the missing area.
Use mirrors to open up small, cramped spaces and amplify light. Also make sure they reflect something you want to see more of, such as your garden, trees or light.
A carpet should blend with all the elements of the room, but the ruling element (for example, wood if the room is in the north) should help you choose the color and pattern. A rug can activate healthy energy flow into and through your living space by highlighting specific parts of a room.
Anything made of crystal is good as it acts as a prism and brings in more good chi.
Wind chimes are excellent feng shui tools. Use six or eight rods to enhance good luck, and five rods (preferably made of metal) to "push down" bad energy.
To attract influential people into your life, place a wind chime with six or eight metal rods in the northwest of your living room.
Use the Ba Gua when choosing colors for your home. For example, if you want to relax, green — associated with the element wood and life aspiration for health and family — is the most soothing color and a great choice for bedrooms. If you have white walls, you can balance out your colors with rugs, pictures, chairs, etc. Avoid too much of any one color.
Place a fish tank in the north sector of your living room or home office to energize the career aspiration, which is governed by water. Place one in the southeast sector to activate the wealth area. The best fish to use are arowana or goldfish: eight gold and one black or two gold and one black are auspicious combinations.
Don’t choose everything at once, go slowly and carefully choose what works best for you. Looking for a good place to start? Remove the clutter. In feng shui, neatness definitely counts.