Feng Shui – The Art of Placement
Feng Shui. Is it a buzzword, or is there something in this ancient body of knowledge that can inform and enhance modern living? A definition of feng shui is a helpful place to begin answering that question.
Essentially, feng shui is an environmental science used to create a proper and balanced flow of energy through the art of placement. Feng shui is a philosophy as well as a practice. Although it originated in China, all societies have the knowledge contained in feng shui. Its use contributes to individual well-being and ultimately to that of entire communities.
Whether at home or at work or around our communities, feng shui as practised in the West today guides us in creating environments that support us and set us at ease. Some feng shui practices simply make sense: natural light, fresh air, and clean environments are good for the well being of both our bodies and spirits.
At the same time, feng shui contains other environmental concepts that might not seem so obvious as potentially beneficial or harmful. In fact, some harmful arrangements go unnoticed until we recognize a problem area in our life and take steps to correct the problem. Once our surroundings are properly ordered, we can connect to the energy around us that allows us to experience desired changes for the better.
Some spaces instinctively feel right, whether by intentional design or by someone with a knack for placement and flow. What are some of the feng shui principles at work in places that give the feeling of peaceful welcome?
One principle is the balance of yin and yang. According to feng shui, these two forces always act together in creating energy. In balance, there is well-being. However, when one force dominates, the imbalance can be detrimental. These positive and negative forces are opposites, yes, but yin and yang are interdependent. That is, without knowing softness, one cannot understand hardness. Stillness and motion, low and high, cold and hot: these are examples of yin forces and yang forces, which at their extreme can change into the other.
For example, sunstroke can make victims shiver and ice can feel like a burn. In feng shui, the object is to balance opposites.
The second principle of spaces that feel right is the idea of Chi. Chi doesn’t have a western equivalent but loosely can be translated as the life force of animate things, the power of the sun and weather, the quality of the inanimate or of the environment. In short, the energy. When Chi is blocked in our bodies, acupuncture is used to help it flow and restore health. Where Chi is blocked in our homes or other surroundings, proper re-arrangement will get it flowing smoothly and gently once again, restoring peace and harmony for the occupants.
To improve the balance of yin and yang, as well as the proper flow of Chi, you could find very detailed instructions in the plethora of books on the subject. These two principles are an excellent beginning point for applying feng shui to your surroundings. However, you need not refer to another source at all to begin right now with the simplest and most powerful thing you can do to affect the quality of your life for the better. Put simply, clear your clutter.
Start by clearing the clutter – in your closets, from table-tops, out of drawers, throughout rooms, the car, yard and garden, the garage, everywhere. When you’re done, you will feel renewed, and if you like the feeling, then get the books and resources, delving further into the philosophy and practice of feng shui, the art of placement for well-being.