The Beginner's Guide to Feng Shui
By Erin Froehlich More Blogs by This AuthorFrom the The Well Mind Blog Series
“Qi” (commonly referred to as “ch’i”) is what traditional Chinese belief describes as the animating principle or “life force” of all living things. With a literal translation of “air” or “breath”, qi or chi is the focus of the 5000 year old practice of Feng Shui, itself meaning “wind and water” - a reference to the Zangshu “Book of Burial” which states:
“Qi rides the wind and scatters, but is retained when encountering water.”
It is this principle of chi flow and retention that Feng Shui design and decorating is based upon. Considered both an art and a science, Feng Shui practitioners attempt to guide and enhance this force using knowledge from a wide variety of fields. Astronomy in particular, at a time where there were no magnetic compasses, was key in Feng Shui’s foundation and continues to play a major role in its practice today.
Polarity for example, is an important component to its observance and the development of “Yin and Yang Theory.” Further, both the Yin Yang Theory and the associated “Five Element Theory” (in Chinese belief – metal, earth, fire, water and wood) have been linked to the astronomical observation of sunspots.
What Feng Shui Does
The goal of Feng Shui is to promote good chi flow and to prevent harmful, negative energy from polluting it. While, as skeptics point out, as a practice of energy, scientific study of Feng Shui would be difficult and there are no studies to support its efficiency, much of its advice makes rational sense outside of Feng Shui teachings and many people swear by its benefits.
“During our consultation, (a Feng Shui expert) suggested I make some of my changes in my “relationship area”. I hadn’t been in a relationship for 9 years and was frustrated that I hadn’t met anyone. Within a few weeks of making the changes, I met the man of my dreams. We are now planning to build a house together!” - Kathy
“My psychological state and my health improved a lot. I almost don’t suffer any more of pain, I feel very optimistic and my monthly period came back after more than 3 years!... I consider myself as a rational and not a spiritual person, but the changes we did in our home under your advice symbolized that we were ready to make changes to improve our life and that we were really serious…” - Anat
How Feng Shui Feels
Beyond the mystical connotations of Feng Shui, there is a practical, rational explanation to support its effectiveness – the mind, belief, ritual and intention – they’re all forces you’d be wise not to underestimate! If you don’t believe the position of your furniture can bring you wealth, you must at least recognize...
...the feeling of having a clean closet as opposed to dirty one,
...the feeling you get after organizing the junk drawer,
...how a new plant can make your living room feel so much more peaceful,
...how a white room feels different than a room painted green.
Subtle changes in our environment can make our day run more smoothly and even make us feel differently about ourselves!
Now. There are entire college courses on the practice and entire books written by expert Feng Shui practitioners so this list is by no means comprehensive, but for those of you interested in giving Feng Shui a try in your own home or office, read on to part two for the basics...