Sunday, June 22, 2008

Feng Shui: The Demystification

Feng Shui (pronounced "fung shway") is the Chinese practice and philosophy of object orientation, placement, and arrangement. The phrase literally means "wind water”, and operates on the premise that our living environment can help or hinder the flow of energy in our lives.

Followers take into consideration the energy flow throughout a structure, arranging furniture and decorations to enhance the wellness of a home or office. To get it all flowing, we need to have a living space that mimics the productive cycle of the natural world. To many, Feng Shui is a mystifying jumble of Baguas and compass points. But some of the most basic lessons of Feng Shui are easy to understand and supported by research.

According to the philosophy, energy (ch’i in Chinese) enters a home or office through the front door, which is considered “the mouth of ch’i." That energy is then dispersed throughout the dwelling, helped or hindered by objects placed within certain areas. In the practice Feng Shui the use of an ancient map called the Bagua determines the relationship among a number of "elements”, including health, knowledge, travel, and partnerships. Items such as, living plants and water features are placed strategically throughout a structure, as signs of life and movement generally are believed to improve energy flow and provide balance. However, creating the correct path for ch’i flow takes skill and patience, and many are unable to grasp the underlying principles.

While some disruptions in ch’i can be remedied by furniture placement according to the principles of Feng Shui, the accumulation of clutter is a big issue. People are so conditioned by society that more is better, but unfortunately, if your house is full, then so is your life, and there's no room for growth. Clutter can also symbolize a person's lack of trust in the future. Keeping your home filled with things you no longer use or love, or because 'you may need it someday' indicates your lack of trust in the universe for it to provide for you.

The spirituality surrounding the practice of Feng Shui does not appeal to everyone. The most important part of feng shui is the intention and belief behind it. Moving objects around doesn't automatically revitalize a person's life. There's a psychological aspect – it taps into your subconscious because you're surrounded by it, making a decision to adopt the principles of Feng Shui is a solid, physical affirmation.


Smiles said...

I personally found this article to be very informative. I have a condo on the beach so I have lots of water on the east side. Any suggestions for improving my situation from a Feng Shui standpoint? Looking forward to more articles.

Michelle said...

In the practice of Feng Shui, water can be very auspicious. One of the best places to have "flowing water" is in your wealth & prosperity section of the Bagua. Stand at your front door, facing into your home, it will be the far left hand corner of your home.....that is if your home is perfectly square. Be especially careful about water to the right of your front door as you look out. This is not auspicious for marriage. Balancing all the elements is key when assessing your home. The career section of the Bagua is another area where water would be beneficial, such as a water feature of an aquarium or water fountain. This is especially true if your career or life journey is of concern.

June Ahern said...

Both spaces - home and work - when walking in the front door face a another door. In my home there's a bit more opening, and in my (once home and now office space) it is very small entry way. Would some kind of mirror or design on the doors facing the front door help to change the chi or energy? I'm also now looking at too many objects in my home. Your writings are most interesting. Thank you, Michelle. JuneA.

Eva Russell said...

Hi Michelle,
Is it auspicious to have healthy plants, round leaved of course, in the bedroom. I thought I read somewhere plants in the bedroom were not good. Your thoughts?
Love your monthly articles. Thanks,

Michelle said...

Your front door is extremely important in Feng Shui, as it is the "mouth of the chi". It plays an important role in the quality of energy that enters the home. Your entrance is the focal point of your home for you as well as visitors. The front door needs to open inwards to allow beneficial chi to enter. It should open easily, with no obstacles & should be maintained...meaning no broken hardware on the door, door bell is functioning as well as the porch light or lamp post. Make sure your address is clearly visible from the street both day & night. The door itself should be in proportion to the size of the house. Not too wide or too tall, too short or too narrow. It is popular to paint doors red, but I don't suggest this. Instead, your door should reflect the trigram colors associated with the direction it faces. South (Fire): Reds/pinks Southwest (Earth):browns/yellow West (Metal): White/or metal tones of gold, silver or copper Northwest (Metal): White/or metal tones of gold, silver or copper North (Water): Black/dark blue Northeast (Earth): browns/yellow East (Wood): Greens Southeast (Wood): Greens. Make sure your interior entry is clean and clear of clutter. Give that positive energy room to enter your home and circulate. Remember this is the first place your guests will see, so don’t fill it up with shoes, coats, or mail. Invite lively chi to the foyer with a healthy plant. It is preferable not to have a stairway coming down towards or going away from the door, as this can drain away energy.
As important as the front door is in Feng Shui, so too is the pathway leading up to it. If a tree or bush is blocking the front door, there is not way for the energy to enter harmoniously. A clean, open pathway, preferably not in a straight line if it can be helped is the best way for energy to flow easily into the home. Some recommended treatments for pathways are solar lights, which literally light up their way into the home an the area outside of your door should be attractively landscaped, plants must be healthy and well trimmed.

Since as you enter your home, your front door faces another door, is it possible to keep the door closed? If it is kept open, the chi will enter your home and continue into the entrance of the other open door. We want the chi to meander in your home. Mirrors are great Feng Shui cures, but not directly opposite your front entrance. A mirror on either side of the entrance with a small table with a bowl for keys/cell phone creates a nice effect even in the smallest of foyers. A wall hanging or a piece of life affirming artwork would add to the positive chi as your enter your home.

As far as too many objects in your home. I will quote myself on this....."When you look at your home, you are looking at an outer expression of your inner self. Everything in your outer life - especially your home environment - mirrors your inner self". Everything in your home has an effect on you, from the smallest object to the largest design structure. Unwanted objects aggravate chi disturbance to your home and health. The reason is because these objects have 'chi' of its own and when these items are not used daily, their accumulated chi energy can clog and interfere with the flow of energy in your home and life.Your home is a living portrait of you and your life. Making changes in your home will help to create positive changes in your life. Each area of your home has a symbolic meaning with which you resonate on a subconscious level. Clutter or unwanted objects within each of these areas causes constriction and inertia in the corresponding aspects of your life. Most importantly, you should surround yourself with items that you love. It will be a cleansing process to donate items that no longer reflect who you are.

June, always great to hear from you. I'll be anxious to hear how Feng Shui influences your life. Quite a switch... me giving you advice and the circle of life continues...I'm taking this opportunity to share June's wealth of knowledge and intuitive gift. I have known June for over 20 years as a friend, author and Life Coach. Please feel free to browse her web sites.

Michelle said...

A very good question. The bedroom is a yin location and plants have a strong and vibrant energy of growth and movement, a yang energy which is not the Feng Shui energy recommended for the bedroom. Let's look at it from a practical point of view. What do you do at night? Hopefully sleep! What do plants do at night? They release carbon dioxide into the air. Thus, plants in the bedroom is definitely not the best idea. Please make a note that this only applies to your bedroom, as everywhere else in the house plants are excellent, especially considering the level of indoor pollution in most indoor spaces. There are many excellent areas in your home to have lush, vibrant plants, such as, for example, East and Southeast Feng Shui areas. Your bedroom, however, is not the best Feng Shui area to have plants. I guess a small plant is acceptable. What usually is not beneficial are larger potted plants with large leafs.