Do you believe that your environment effects you? If your answer is yes, then how MUCH do you think your surroundings can contribute to any factor in your life? According to feng shui (pronounced: fung shway) practitioners, about 20-30% of your life's experiences can be attributed to your physical surroundings.
Our physical surroundings vibrate in a mysterious coded language or energy pattern which can affect people in very predictable ways. Chinese practitioners have documented in detail this natural phenomenon for thousands of years. Now Westerners are paying attention and using this feng shui knowledge to improve every aspect of life.
We have all seen certain businesses in our cities fail in spite of being in great locations and sleek architecture. We have all known homes where whomever lives there is unhappy or struggling in some way. These structures possess an energy field which can be calculated, based on when they were built and what their accuracy compass alignment is. And this is the basis for the ancient natural earth science which has been popularly called feng shui.
People call on a feng shui practitioner for a variety of services which could fall under the definition of a “metaphysical home inspection.” When looking at land to develop or evaluating an existing residence or commercial property to lease or buy, the feng shui practitioner will use special criteria to grade the property in terms of how it will influence future or current occupants. Clients want to know how they can manipulate their interiors in such as way that it can influence their ability to make more money, be healthier, have more satisfying relationships, and feel a sense of peace and relaxation in their home or work space.
A comprehensive Feng Shui evaluation will include 6 major categories to consider:
1. Ying / Yang Theory: Usually, you do not want anything around you to be extreme because that is considered out of balance. A lot of this is common sense. For instance, if someone were to live in a chronically dark house with poor ventilation, they would get depressed and sick more often. A house that is facing a very busy, noisy street would have considered overly stimulated and make people inside irritable. A house that was completely isolated with no neighbors, or tucked into a canyon or mountainous area could encourage loneliness and detachment.
2. 5-Element Theory: The five elements are: water, wood, fire, earth, and metal. These elements can be used in a home, represented in rooms that need to be balanced when the “unseen” influences are undering for the occupants. Water is best represented with real water. Wood is represented by a live plant or large green surface. Fire is best represented by a large object that is red in color (like a couch or drape.) Earth is represented by real earthen objects made of clay, brick, or stone. And metal is anything which is made from copper, brass, or bronze.
Learning where to place these elements and what kind of effect it will have, takes years of study. Just as one example, this year in 2009, the location of the North sector of a house will be very late to accidents and arguments. Placing significant amounts of metal in this area, just for the year, will reduce these negative impacts. If someone had an entrance in their North Sector and there already existed a big grandfather clock, then that would be enough moving metal to compensate.
3. 8-House Type Theory: There are eight basic house types, characterized by the direction in which they are oriented. The eight basic directions are North, South, East, West, Northwest, Southwest, Northeast, and Southeast. Even with identical floor plans, there will be major differences between a house which faces East versa one which faces West.
4. Time / Space Theory: Combining compass alignment with the age of the building will yield even more personal information about the personality of the house. As an example, a house which faces South and built in 1970 will be dramatically different from the same south facing house built in 1990. Time is a key factor in advanced feng shui.
5. Form School: This branch of feng shui reflects to the aspect of our exterior, natural environment and how it may influence the house in question. You could have a good house ruined by its placement on a street, a hill, or proximate to other negative impacts, like a cemetery or a pollution-generating commercial building. The “Form” also refers to the interior design of a space and how well or how poorly the air currents (ch'i) move through the space. As an example: slanted ceilings in a bedroom contribute to an uneven flow of ch'i in the room, which could result in sleep problems for the occupants.
6. Personal Compatibility: There are some subjective or personal components to feng shui. And Chinese astrology is practiced in conjunction with it. Classical practitioners may be referring to both a solar and a lunar calendar in order to figure out just how compatible a person is with their living space. Details include how to position a bed for the best sleep, a desk for highest productivity, an entrance direction for luck and creativity.
There are several reasons why feng shui has become so popular in the last few years amongst Westerners. Initially, where there has been a large population of Asians (like Southern California), Westerners will be exposed to feng shui through Asian friends and business partners, who naturally incorporated this into their lifestyle. I have been a guest at many real estate offices in Southern California, to help explain to realtors what their prospective buyers are looking for and why they want to use feng shui to enhance their lives.
With 80% of all Americans being open-minded to trying alternative healing modalities, interest in feng shui is just an extension of that. People want to get back to a natural lifestyle and find any good method to de-stress themselves that is not too strenuous or require that we radically alter our habits.
The New Age community has eaten feng shui up with so much enthusiasm, that the mass-marketing of it has clearly gone wild– with the appearance of “feng shui” candles, cookbooks, make-up, travel-kits, jewelry, pillows , even a board game! While none of these items are actual remedies for the home, entrepreneurs are capitalizing on the concept of balance and positive reinforcement. Strictly speaking, the practice of feng shui is about how the environment, structures, and interiors affect us and the methods we can use to improve any given situation and extremely, the quality of life.