The Basics Of Feng Shui
By Stephen C. Benton
Feng Shui is an incredible gift from the spiritual realm whose goal is to improve and empower the lives of those who employ it. It's not a religion although it incorporates much from the spiritual riches of Eastern religions and practices. It even borrows from our most valuable and trusted asset, nature. Feng Shui invites you to let your space be alive, have a spirit and be filled with the life-themes that are coursing through your own mind right now. Feng Shui literally translated from Chinese means "wind-water."
Here lies a clue to Feng Shui's connection to nature and the mysterious and essential elements that pervade our life's tapestry.
1. Include beautiful and healing Nature into your living environment.
Nature provides solid ground for higher levels above.
Feng Shui seeks to balance opposites and to harmonize the interaction and amount of elemental energy in our lives, therefore the wind and the water interplay and are necessary for the thriving and movement of each other, as are wood, fire, metal, and earth. Everything connects with everything else. We can see this clearly in our environmental situation and it's impact on our life quality here in the dawning of the 21st century.
The ancient people who lived thousands of years ago in China and the Orient knew the importance of keeping in touch with nature and it's healing presence. These people lived in nature, experiencing great healing, rebalancing and peace from their surroundings. They would bathe in the living stream's water, fashioning poetry and song based on inspiration which came directly from nature, observing the seasons and their affect upon life.
Homes were often sited from auspicious natural forms, which could be seen in the rock and curves of the land. These forms would often be in the shape of animals believed to be protective and positive like the dragon or turtle, tiger or a flying bird. Once a good site was found, building would incorporate nature into the process. Many of you are familiar with the oriental design of building which has a central open air garden and living spaces on the perimeter, thus lending the central place of honor to nature itself.
When we include nature into our living spaces through the use of fountains, plants and the other elements, we're inviting nature to interact with us to heal, beautify and balance our personal energies. When we're more balanced and vibrant our choices and energy reflect this aliveness and our lives improve.
2. Our living spaces are alive and continuously broadcast messages out to the infinite universe and in to us, it's occupants.
Our homes are "larger bodies" for our energies and lives to unfold. What kind of messages do our homes broadcast? This builds up from our foundation in nature and recognizes the feeling aspect of our space. Ultimately we want our homes, offices or workplaces to transmit the most empowering, uplifting messages for our lives. Since our home is the larger body for our lives it has power to shape our energies and us and through intelligent Feng Shui we can transform the effect our space has upon us and upon the universe. Remember that the collective message our living spaces puts into the universe goes out in a form likened to a seed and all of these seeds come back to us bearing the fruit of their original energies or messages.
Through Feng Shui we begin to receive back different energy because our homes and our inner selves are broadcasting different energy. As our home empowers us more and more we grow stronger and more supported in thinking new thoughts that bear greater fruit for our lives.
I'll share an example to illustrate the importance of the best messages circulating in our homes. A couple of years age I was working for some clients and we were in the master bedroom. My gaze immediately fell upon a very well done piece of art on the wall. The artist had no doubt been pain-staking in the creation of the painting, yet when I looked at what messages were coming off the canvas I was amazed this painting found it's way to the bedroom. The painting depicted a woman from the circus with terrible excruciating pain written across her face and body. The implication is that she'd fallen from her horse. Her clown boyfriend sat next to her, tremendous concern covering his face, waiting for a very stern doctor to write what must be a prescription.
I wouldn't want to broadcast a message like this in my bedroom, the most personal, intimate and hopefully safe room we occupy. Imagine going to bed and seeing this image as the last thing seen before sleep. Sweet dreams!
But perhaps this image of a woman in pain appealed to my clients for some reason. It is interesting to note that the wife did in fact spend a fair amount of time in bed with minor ailments. A picture of a radiantly healthy woman and partner may have served them better. Feng Shui looks for the messages a living space broadcasts and works to improve them, if need be. Then a person can more easily realize their dreams and goals, whether that's enhanced prosperity, health, inner peace, harmony, or love.
3. Keep the Energy Flowing.
Energy circulates continuously in our bodies, in nature and in living spaces. We sometimes only feel energy when it's blocked or we experience pain. This tells us that something is "off." It's similar with our living spaces. When a living space is blocked our lives are blocked. Remember, the home is our "larger body" and when it's energy flow is off it automatically affects us just like when our body's energy is off and we experience discomfort, blockage or pain.
a) In the realm of energy flow, we first want a sufficient amount of quality energy to reach our front door and enter our home.
b) Then, we want energy to meander and circulate like the blood, water, or breath, filling all spaces with life-affirming positive energy. In Feng Shui energy is called Chi, in yoga it is called Prana, and in Hawaii it is called Mana. These are all words for universal life-force energy (found in food, water, the natural elements, the sun, moon, and planets...). The breath is a very immediate and direct example of how we bring this life-force energy into our systems.
Feng Shui aims to correct energy flow problems and blockages through many means from the physical placement of objects, furnishings and pathways of movement to transcendental house blessing rituals to shift energy to the positive. Energy flow may be directed consciously through the use of environmental cues and elements as well. In yoga it's said that the quality of one's state of mind is the same as the quality of your breathing.
When the breath is deep and full the mind will be deep, clear and relaxed. If your home's energy (its breath flow) is full and deep then the state of mind in your home will be full and deep. If your home's energy (its breath flow) is shallow, labored, partially blocked, or unflowing, then the state of mind in your home will be the same.
Maybe this is why wind and water were chosen as the elements in Feng Shui. Of all the elements, wind and water have the most flowing presence and remind you continually of the presence and need for life-sustaining energy, both seen and unseen.
You can't live without air even if you can't see it. And though you don't see it, your body is composed of over 80% water.
4. Everything in the universe is connected.
Nothing is separate from anything else in this universe. The planets and their energies impact us and this is known as astrology. Our land and homes and offices and all living spaces interact with us directly and their energies affect us, having beneficial or detrimental effects. Feng Shui is known as "Earth Luck" and astrology is called "Heavenly luck."
We may not be able to shift the energies of the planets at our birth but we certainly can shift the energies our Earthly homes provide us until such time as we return again to the stars. Feng Shui works because everything is connected and interwoven. Placing specific objects, elements and colors with specific intention in certain areas of the home to empower various needs and goals would probably not be effective at all if the universe were not all connected, where all the parts have an affect on the whole. In truth, the universe (like our homes) is another incredibly "vast body" in which we live and breath. By strengthening our own little corner of the universe with vibrant energy and messages we strengthen the whole universe. Any movement in our part of the infinite universal ocean ripples out infinitely in every direction affecting the wind and water where we live, and beyond.
The cricket that chirps at the exact instant we land upon an inspiring thought may be speaking to us from another level, that of Spiritual Connectedness. The universe is speaking to us, thus it lends its voice in the form of the cricket. And the cricket chimes in to confirm the rightness of our thought. Clearly our universe is not dead but a living, vibrant being that enfolds us in love and support. By understanding the universe as a vibrant living being, we increase the experiences confirming this truth. Messages of connectedness can be found anywhere when we listen.
In life and in Feng Shui it's fascinating to note the degree of connectedness present in our universe. I've experienced firsthand the disappearance of toothaches simply by fixing my front door's hinge. Feng Shui asserts that the door corresponds to the "mouth" in the body. I've seen numerous instances of headaches being erased by clearing clutter from around a front entry. I've seen relationships improve dramatically when "draining energy" is removed at critical points of the home. I've seen wealth increase from the proper application of elements and wealth-affirming messages in prosperity-designated areas of a home or office. I've seen prosperity slip away from people proportionate to the sloping of their land that drove energy away from their home and lives. The beds we sleep on connect us to our deeper unconscious self and our relationships with others; communication and contact with our unconscious or higher self is crucial, just like our need for rest.
4. Our living spaces influence us psychologically.
What affects us psychologically extends into every area of our lives. We can create more psychologically warm, comforting, strong, uplifting and loving environments. Who wants to live in a home without sunlight or color? What if you lived in a home that had black walls everywhere? Or dripping water faucets and a refrigerator that constantly ran? The space would torment you. What if you worked in a tiny cubicle? This could depress and irritate you and could carry over into the rest of your life. Ideally, you want to create the most positive living/working environment that lets you expand, breathe and feel great.
It needs to be clean, organized and a creative expression of you. Your environment influences you like the food you eat. Your living space actually becomes a food you consume daily; your senses drink it up through your eyes, ears, nose and sense of touch. What your senses perceive becomes psychological and emotional food. And the specific quality and taste of your "environment's food" profoundly affects you.
In conclusion, Feng Shui seeks to include the beautiful, healing energy of nature, vibrant messages and positive life force. Feng Shui understands the connectivity of everything, and the importance of an environment's psychological impact. This kind of Feng Shui creates strong spaces that provide blessings and happiness to occupants. Feng Shui evolves as you change. It's a dynamic process that seeks to intentionally create the environment that best strengthens you. Best wishes for your harmonious living space.