10 Things I Wish Everyone Knew About Feng Shui
As a Classical Feng Shui consultant, I've personally loved witnessing the practice's explosion in popularity in the West over the last 10 years. But there's one big downside.
The authentic meaning of the practice has gotten lost, and is often misused. Pop attention has diluted it from the logical and systematic body of ancient knowledge that it is, to a watered-down approach of commercialized quick fixes for your space and your spirit.
To honor this 6,000-year-old Eastern discipline, I’d like to highlight some common misunderstandings (and truths) about feng shui.
What Feng Shui Is Not:
1. It is not a religion or superstition.
Religion is a set of systems in which a person believes in and worships a supernatural or higher power. Superstition is folklore and legends, stemming from religious or cultural beliefs.
2. It is not a one-time project.
Because everything in life is in a constant state of flux, feng shui is not a permanent fix that you can apply and then forget about. The energy cycles in your environment will shift. People change too, such as your goals and relationships, your health, and work dynamic. Therefore, you have to circle back around to feng shui so you can adjust your surroundings to align with your current and future endeavors.
3. It is not interior designing.
The goal of feng shui is not to pick the prettiest piece of furniture. What you see and surround yourself with has a psychological impact on you. But the aesthetics of your interior space are only half the consideration. The invisible life force that is moving and flowing inside a home is more important (it’s called “qi”). That’s why feng shui assesses first the environment, time, and the people before considering the physical objects inside the home.
4. It is not a product-based system.
Feng shui has absolutely nothing to do with charms, trinkets, symbols, crystals, gemstones, and amulets. These are part of the Western concept. It is not Chinese. Traditional feng shui objects used for dissolving negative energy are actually quite discreet and can often be incorporated into a home without giving away any inkling that feng shui has been used.
5. It is not space clearing or decluttering.
Space clearing is a religious or spiritual ritual that is intended to protect the inhabitants from misfortune. While both space clearing and feng shui do touch on “energy” work, they aren't the same. Space clearing has its own set of history and traditions, but this knowledge did not originate from China. So, let’s give each discipline its own independent merit! My teacher, Grand Master Raymond Lo, once said, “You don’t need feng shui to tell you to pick up your socks.”
What Feng Shui Is:
6. It is an ancient Chinese knowledge.
Feng shui was founded on yin and yang and the Five Elements. Yin and yang has a place in Taoist philosophy that describes and governs all things in the universe. The Five Elements are an organized study used to facilitate the workings of yin and yang. Their basic qualities and modes of interactions help you understand virtually everything that happens in the universe, from the workings of internal organs and human emotions, passage of time, to the influences in your physical surroundings.
7. It observes the unity of the internal and external worlds.
Feng shui is a “macro” practice because it observes that there is a very real link between the external and internal spaces. Your home’s fortune is directly influenced by the environment — the curvature of the landscape, the formations of water and mountain, and the surrounding structures that shelter and protect it. That’s why where you choose to build or buy a home, for instance, play an important role in how qi will affect your life.
8. It considers time as well as space.
Time is an important variable in interpreting how qi behaves and affects the spaces in which you live and work. A feng shui practitioner ascertains the facing orientation of your home because it will dictate how qi flows in and around it, and serves as a reference point for all subsequent computations. Feng shui also: (a) calculates the time factor with a feng shui calendar, and (b) takes directional measurements with a feng shui compass.
9. It determines the correct positioning and placement of key rooms.
Not only does feng shui help you understand where and how qi behaves, it can also pinpoint what aspect of life (career or relationship) it will affect. For this reason, feng shui is useful for locating the optimal placement of key rooms, such as your bedroom and kitchen, in order to positively support different areas of your life.
10. It considers the people aspect.
Feng shui honors individual differences and recognizes every person will respond differently to the qi qualities in their environment. So the same space may result in different outcomes for different people. Therefore, you can use your birth date and other personal data to examine the dynamic relationships among the family members in the household, and direct how and where to scrutinize the feng shui challenges in your home.