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03 June 2003

What is Feng Shui?

Feng Shui is the ancient art Chinese art of designing and creating a harmonious environment. Feng Shui (pronounced Fung Schway) is based on the belief that energy patterns are generated and effected by everything we do, build or create. It teaches us that our destinies and our lives are interwoven between the universal energy field and our human energy field.

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The ancient art of Feng Shui
Feng Shui is the ancient art Chinese art of designing and creating a harmonious environment. Feng Shui (pronounced Fung Schway) is based on the belief that energy patterns are generated and effected by everything we do, build or create. It teaches us that our destinies and our lives are interwoven between the universal energy field and our human energy field.

Feng Shui uses the placement of buildings and objects as a means of managing and harmonising the energies in our environment with our personal energies. An Eco-art which helps us to define our position in the universe, and then improve it, Feng Shui is based on principles of design, ecology, architecture, mysticism and common sense. It applies not only to the layout of a building but to the arrangement of furniture within a room and to the design of offices and public spaces – in short, to any ordering of our environment.

The shapes of beds, the forms and heights of buildings, and the patterns of roads and corners all modify our destinies. The goal of Feng Shui is complete harmony with natural order which, when achieved will bring prosperity, health and happiness.

Feng Shui in China
The Chinese often trace success or failures not so much to human actions but to the workings of these mysterious earth forces. Feng Shui – literally "wind and water" – teaches that these forces are believed to be responsible for determining health, prosperity and good luck.

Though officially suppressed in the People's Republic of China, Feng Shui is today still widely but surreptitiously practised, mostly in the countryside. However, it flourishes in Hong Kong where it is also often used in one form or another by most Chinese and even some Westerners. (It is now being incorporated in the United States regarding sick building syndrome and environmental psychology).

The simple observation that started it all
For all the mystery that surrounds it, Feng Shui evolved from the simple observation that people are affected, for good or ill, by surroundings; the layout and orientation of workplaces and homes. For example, where your front door is placed and what it faces are very important. If it faces a wall, the wall will block the natural flow of earth energies into your home. Always having to move around the wall to enter your house will take more of your energy and disturb your natural flow.

Always facing a wall when you approach your home blocks the natural flow of energy that you connect to your home when you approach it. This will interfere with your relationship to your home and may make you feel weak, defeated, and blocked in your life because you must struggle to get to your place of comfort. This may then create more struggle in your life.

Some surroundings are better than others
In addition, the Chinese have long observed that some surroundings are better, luckier, or more blessed than others. Every hill, building, wall, window and corner and the ways in which they face wind and water have an effect. They concluded that if you change surrounding, you can change your life. The aim of Feng Shui, then, is to change and harmonise the environment – to improve fortunes.

According to Feng Shui, it is important to know the energetic influences of landscape, the position and flow of water with respect to your home, the stars, colours, the weather, animals, shapes, designs, and the like. Feng Shui uses many different kinds of things to help set a controlled energy flow in the places we spend our time. For example, it uses mirrors to reflect energy – putting a mirror on the wall opposite your front door reflects any negative incoming energies. It uses sound to change the energy or to direct any positive energy into your home for health, well-being, and prosperity.

Feng Shui can help you to pick the place to build your house or office. It tells you where to position it, with respect to landscape, roads, and neighbours. It tells you where to put your driveway.

The practice of Feng Shui
Feng shui is considered part of the 8 "rays" of Traditional Chinese Medicine – acupuncture, herbal medicine, Wushu (Chinese Martial Arts) and Qigong (breathing exercises), food energies, moxibustion, meditation, astrology and Feng Shui.

When we practice Feng Shui, we are acting as responsible stewards and guardians of the environment and ensuring a continued and pragmatic reverence for the preservation of the natural beauty and innate life-giving spirit-force of our planet – the Earth.

What Feng Shui is not…

  • A religion of any sort
  • A form of integrative psychology
  • A branch of interior decorating (although there is some cross over in its application)
  • Magic (real work is required, as Feng Shui is not just hanging of a few wind chimes at random)
  • A cure-all
  • Easy – you have to follow its rules very precisely
  • A spiritual practice – despite modern attempts, it is essentially practical, not spiritual
  • Just intuitive – a Master may apply some intuition, but a practitioner must do their calculations first, before attempting to use intuition
  • A fad – no fad has lasted so long, even in the West, it has been popular for over 25 years

[This article was written by Margaret Tanner of Margaret Tanner Interiors. She is a certified Feng Shui practitioner and interior decorator. For a personalised assessment of your home or office, contact Margaret on (021) 709 4678 or e-mail her: tanner@iafrica.com]

 
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