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Feng Shui

Feng Shui Tao


Ancient Secrets and Imperial Beauty:
The Art of Authentic Feng Shui
by Melissa Kushi

Have you ever wondered what a compass reveals? At first glance, it seems to map the directions of the Earth's magnetic fields, helping us find our Kushi 1bearings. While this is true, the ancients, who developed the magnetic geomancer's compass (the Loupan) over 4,000 years ago, included rings as shown in the photograph to read astronomical, astrological and mathematical data in conjunction with magnetic fields. This information helps interpret the relationship between people and their environment, enabling them to make changes to positively transform their lives.

From the moment we move into a new place, we begin a relationship with that particular environment and its natural energies. Feng Shui is the art of living in harmony and balance with the energies of one's environment by harnessing or tapping the positive and powerful energies of that place. A venerable art and science as old as Chinese culture, Feng Shui translates as "wind and water," two of the most powerful forces of nature. Where wind and water meet, energy gathers and accumulates. Water represents wealth and wind represents direction. Harnessing the positive energies of a place to support and nourish our activities can transform our lives and ultimately even bring the fulfillment of our destinies.

Imperial Secrets of Feng Shui

The origins of Feng Shui date back to around 2200 BCE in Neolithic China. Farms and villages were auspiciously placed within the protective folds of chosen land formations, shielded from harmful winds and nurtured by the gentle, winding streams. The tribes which practiced these principles prospered in agriculture and trade and grew strong and powerful. They produced social, cultural and military leaders unlike their neighbors who were exposed to harsh winds and inhospitable terrain. The art of Feng Shui was refined over many centuries, producing an abundance of learned scholars.

Ancient emperors guided by their counsel of sages and diviners used Feng Shui to auspiciously place palaces, cities, and especially their personal grave sites. It was during this time that the foundational tools of Feng Shui were Kushi 2developed: the Pa-Kua (eight trigrams), the Luopan (compass) and the theory of change, known as the I Ching. From these building blocks, other healing systems arose including Chinese medicine, acupuncture, Taoist arts and macrobiotics to name only a few.

Over the ages, many emperors forbade the dispensing of Feng Shui knowledge to their subjects, thereby securing the "power" for themselves. Violations of this law led many masters to their death, although some masters refused to part with the knowledge indiscriminately believing that Feng Shui changes a person's destiny. Until the recent Cultural Revolution, Feng Shui was an integral part of daily life for the Chinese. It is said that Mao Tse-tung was a master practitioner and used Feng Shui in his rise to power. Afterwards, he outlawed its practice and destroyed many ancient texts. This had been foreseen, however, and the most valuable texts had already been removed to Taiwan. No longer exclusive to the realm of the Chinese, Feng Shui began its journey westward.

Modern Feng Shui in the World

Worldwide fascination with Feng Shui has bred acceptance within the mainstream, but most people do not know what real Feng Shui is all about. Anyone seeking information on Feng Shui faces a deluge of books, articles and programs, many with confusing and contradictory premises, most of which proclaim "quick fix" solutions. People are beginning to realize that in order to obtain lasting results, superficial skimming won't stand up to scrutiny. Authentic Feng Shui, like Taoism and Chinese medicine, is not based on superstition and requires time and diligent commitment for understanding and mastery of the principles. Feng Shui relies on time-tested mathematical formulas, with recommendations individualized for each person's specific internal and external situation that work regardless of a person's belief.

Fundamental to understanding the basic principles of Feng Shui is the concept of "chi," known variously throughout the world as ki, prana or life force, among other names. Chi is the pulsating, vital, nourishing source that is the essence of all things and the unifying principle of our universe. The budding trees, blooming flowers, gentle breezes and thunderstorms all speak to the living presence of chi around us, always present, yet invisible. Another good example is the invisible energy grid within our bodies mapped out by ancient acupuncturists, and now even documented by science. Just as acupuncture is a tool to direct the flow of energy within the body to restore healing and balance, Feng Shui works to restore the natural balance and vitality of chi present in a location.

Understanding this energy allows us to re-orient our environment by identifying the best layout and internal designs for placement of people, activities, furnishings and colors. The practice of authentic Feng Shui requires in-depth observations to assess information about the environment, people, locations and dates relevant to the occupants. These assessments are made using astronomical, astrological and mathematical systems, including the birth data of all occupants of a dwelling. Using the system of Pa Chai, or Eight Mansions, a client's best directions are revealed, based upon the year of birth.

Pa-Chai uses the eight trigrams, or directions of the Pa-Kua to locate areas of positive and negative energy in a house, as measured with a compass. Classical Feng Shui schools require the use of a Luopan compass; "lo" means "everything" and "pan" means "bowl." The Luopan is traditionally viewed as containing the keys to the mysteries of the universe. In order to most advantageously tap auspicious energy and minimize the negative influences that are present in every environment, an accurate assessment is imperative. Once an assessment of these patterns is formulated, recommendations can be made on a case by case basis. Any changes made should harmonize with one's own personal taste, style and budget.

Case Study

The following case study highlights how quick-fix Feng Shui advice can actually work to enhance negative energy in an environment rather than stimulate the flow of positive chi.

A man going through a contentious divorce received ill-advised Feng Shui advice to place a couple of pink or red candles in his "relationship corner" to pull in new relationship energy and quell the angst of his departing spouse, along with other symbolic cures. Psychologically, he felt better having shifted his environment around a bit and felt boosted by having made the effort and enlisting support, but things continued to decline.

A traditional Feng Shui practitioner was called in who took an accurate compass reading of the external land forms and the house. He asked for the move-in and construction date of the house, as well as the occupant's birth data. Charts were created, combined and assessed for compatibility. After the assessment was complete, it was discovered that this man had a great house however, he entered through a door in his own personal "loss" direction, his bed was in one of his "arguments and lawsuits" directions, and a water fountain was activating "financial drain." This man was miserable and open to change. The fountain was turned off, the bed was moved into his best sector, and the side door became his main entrance as it was located in his "wealth and success" direction. Other changes were made based on his internal layout and the harmonious flow of energy throughout the house.

The Cosmic Trinity

Even though Feng Shui can play a major role in the transformation of one's life, other factors call for consideration and reflection. The guiding elements of The Cosmic Trinity deserve careful attention as they too, determine the Kushi 3unfolding of our life paths. According to this ancient Chinese philosophy over 4,000 years old, humans, embraced by both Heaven and Earth, have their destiny determined by the three foundational luck elements. Each luck element plays an equally important role. One's level of success and happiness is determined by a combination of these factors. Becoming familiar with the three basic tenants of the Cosmic Trinity will allow you to deepen your exploration of self, evaluate your life from a different perspective and gain an invaluable set of new tools for enhancing your personal life path.

Heaven's Luck: This is known as destiny, fate, karma, or luck. Heaven is the source of spirit, believed to account for one third of the influences in our lives. This is our gift at birth, our fate, or karmic inheritance.

Man's Luck: This is what we develop and achieve through our efforts of hard work, discipline, education and the development of personal virtues. Humans hold their place between Heaven and Earth and are the bearers of that unique force of human spirit, or will. This accounts for another one third of the influences upon our lives.

Earth Luck : The source of essential elements for life. This is where Feng Shui enters our lives by harnessing the energy and forces of nature. Earth's Luck is our invitation to use the tools provided around us to our advantage. By practicing Feng Shui principles, we can alter, enhance and support the positive aspects of Heaven's Luck as well as channel both the positive and negative aspects of Man's Luck towards our best interest.

Creating Grace in Your Life

The ideal combination of sublime Heaven' s Luck, Man's Luck, and Earth Luck is quite rare, although it does indeed exist. None of us can escape the reality of low points, trials, or hardship, yet there are some who always seem to fare better even during hard times at maintaining resiliency and equilibrium that others work hard to possess.

Reflecting on the Cosmic Trinity, we might begin to question what aspects of our own life have been enhanced or hampered by personal fate and what can be done to improve them? Being motivated to develop self-reflection, discipline, volition of will, and strength of character all work in one's favor to strengthen Earth Luck.

Some believe that destiny is unchangeable. There are those however, who pursue a deeper investigation, often discovering the hidden jewels buried within this powerful philosophy. Able to grasp the meaning and move forward, as the ancients once beheld, the primary purpose of this knowledge is for self-mastery, moving deeper into one's life fulfillment. In ancient times, to master one's self was considered to be the greatest service to one's village and society; even today we know this to be true.

Creating grace, benefiting from our own native luck, and the great fortune to experience the true beauty of life depends upon many factors and is unique to each individual's development, openness and vision as well as destiny. One thing we can collectively count on, however, is through the development of compassion, caring, warmth, altruistic vision and kindness, not only are we increasing our own personal Heaven's Luck and Man's Luck, but enriching the lives of our families, communities, and contributing to the positive evolution of global society. Bringing in the positive elements of Earth Luck through Feng Shui strengthens and enhances our endeavors in all other realms of life. By using this ancient wisdom to create an environment of peace, Malissa Kushibalance and beauty in which to live or work, we can transform our fate by accessing what heaven has always provided but which may have previously been beyond our grasp.

 

Melissa Kushi received her master practitioner Feng Shui certification in Asia by Grand Master Yap Cheng Hai, one of the world's top five Feng Shui Grand Masters. She brings over 20 years experience in the study, practice and teaching of natural sciences from the Orient.

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How to Choose a Feng Shui Consultant:
Helpful Consumer Guidelines
by Melissa Kushi

Have you actively considered hiring a Feng Shui consultant? How do you know what to look for? Often, clients' attempts to discern what is truly valid and effective ends in confusion or frustration. Many practitioners seem pleasant and good natured, and appear to have the necessary skills. So how should you choose? To make sure you're getting the real thing, the following guidelines will help you eliminate the risk of wasting valuable time and resources, as well as the hazards and expense tied to implementing the wrong advice.

Finding the Real McCoy

Whether you've had a sudden turn in your life circumstances, are buying a new home, starting a new company, are renovating, have a new job or relationship, ... something important in your life now prompts you to bring in a professional Feng Shui consultant. As you value your life path, so should you use scrutiny when interviewing a practitioner. In comparison, you certainly would not allow someone to operate on you because they've read all the medical books in the library, would you?

Be aware that some consultants have read only a couple of more books than you; some have only attended a one-day workshop. There are even those who "intuit" their own systems. Practitioners in this category can easily make incorrect analyses, sometimes causing harm, without knowing what principles, schools, and methods actually comprise authentic Feng Shui. Be a smart consumer and heed the caveat emptor; let the buyer beware.

East Does Not Always Meet West

The first step is to know what method or school you would like to use. The key distinction is to understand the difference between the Westernized forms of Feng Shui claiming connection to ancient methods vs. the authentic Classical methods as they are currently used in modern day Asia.

The Americanized version of Feng Shui uses terms like "wealth corner, relationship corner, etc." It is a commercialized method recognized by its generous use of bamboo flutes, bagua mirrors, wind chimes, and red money packets over the last 20 years.

This new-age form of Feng Shui requires you to place "cures" in certain corners of your home or office, and operates on a psychological level requiring your belief. This hybrid version is severely frowned upon in Asia by today's practicing masters as a mockery of the true teachings. Clearly, simplification for the Western mind gone far overboard...

Authentic Feng Shui is easily distinguished from the new-age schools and relies on time-tested mathematical formulas that work regardless of a person's belief. With authentic Classical Feng Shui, time and commitment are required to master its practice. With its origins over 4,000 years ago, Classical Feng Shui is a valid branch of a venerable ancient system based on the dynamics of yin & yang, Five Elements, and the I Ching. This same system is also the foundation for Compassother traditional Eastern disciplines like acupuncture and Chinese medicine.

Classical Feng Shui is popularly referred to as "Compass, Form, Eight Mansions, and Flying Stars." Classical Feng Shui requires in-depth observations of the environment, people, location, time, and quality of the prevailing chi. The way these factors interact with one another reveal what's happening on an invisible, energetic level.

Assessments are made using systems based on astronomy, mathematics, and oriental astrology, calibrated in relation to the birth dates of all occupants. A professional consultant measures these factors using a Luopan, or Chinese compass. Classical Feng Shui is not comprised of "Black Hat, Eight Life Aspirations, Intuitive Method" or other versions not grounded in traditional wisdom.

The Next Step...

When interviewing practitioners, ask questions, request their brochures and inquire about their web sites. Professional consultants will be pleased to provide their credentials, and will be able to tell you about their teachers, lineage, education, and experience. Before making your decision, obtain information about the following points:

Credentials:

  • What Feng Shui method do they practice?
  • Are they professionally certified?
  • What is the level of their certification?
  • Who was their teacher?
  • What are the teacher's credentials?
  • Are they affiliated with any professional associations?
  • Do they have client testimonials?

Practice:

  • Do they use a traditional Luopan?
  • Do they request your date of birth?
  • Do they need floor plans?
  • What services do they offer?
  • What type of follow-up do they provide?
  • Do they maintain client confidentiality?

Another important yardstick is what essential quality of life the consultant personally enjoys. A good Feng Shui practitioner will have a reasonable quality of life; otherwise, it is unlikely that he or she will be able to help you. Their answers should satisfy your queries, making you feel confident about their skills. Possessing the patience to continue your search until you discover the one for your unique needs should bring great rewards into your life.

Melissa Kushi, certified Master Practitioner of Classical Chinese Feng Shui, trained in Asia with Grandmaster Yap Cheng Hai, one of the world's top five Grandmasters. Melissa brings over 20 years experience in practicing and teaching the natural sciences of the Orient.

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Feng Shui - Frequently Asked Questions
by Master Joseph Yu

Question: Is there a wealth corner in every house?

Yes. In every house there is a position that if appropriately decorated can improve the wealth luck of the people living in the house. It is where the star responsible for wealth dwells. An accurate measurement has to be taken to locate the wealth corner. The Feng Shui Principle : "Mountain is responsible for health and water for wealth" refers to the "mountain star" and "water star" in the "flying star chart". In the seventh period (1984-2003) the dominating star is 7. Where the water star (facing star) 7 resides is the wealth corner. Where the facing star #8 resides is a secondary wealth corner. In fact, there are two wealth corners instead of just one.

Question: Is there a simple way to locate the wealth corner of a house?

No. There are some "simple ways" to define the wealth corner. Don't be fooled by the "simple is good" maxim. These simple ways can be harmful:

Wrong concept #1 - When you enter a house, the right hand corner on the other end of the house is the wealth corner. Sheng chi entering a house goes in the clockwise direction until it reaches the furthermost corner and stays there. Therefore this is the wealth corner.

Wrong concept #2 - In the New Age Ba Gua, the wealth station is one of the eight life stations.

Question: Is Feng Shui related to religion?

No. Feng Shui has no religious background. Some "Feng Shui masters" claim to have learnt Feng Shui from a Buddhist monk. This is not creditable. A real Buddhist is prohibited to practice Feng Shui and all kinds of fortune telling. Feng Shui is an unconventional science that has theoretical results supported by unverified statistical data. The task of Feng Shui students in the future is to integrate Feng Shui into conventional science. To claim that there is a more powerful transcendental part of Feng Shui is nothing more than deceitful marketing.

Question: Can Feng Shui be practiced without using a Luo Pan?

Yes and no. Using a Luo Pan is fine. Using an accurate compass serves the same purpose. Practicing Feng Shui without an instrument to measure the sitting and facing is not the way.

Question: Can Feng Shui be learnt without a 'shifu' (Feng Shui master who teaches this art)?

Why not? But then you will have to study all kinds of Feng Shui books in the world, scrutinize them one by one, accept the good ones and reject the bad ones. It will take tens of years to accomplish something. The greatest masters in the history of Feng Shui did not learn Feng Shui from a shifu but from books.

Question: Are mirrors (convex, concave and plain) powerful weapons to kill sha chi?

No. A mirror can only reflect light falling onto its surface. It can do nothing to whatever kinds of chi that escape this small surface. To say that mirrors can absorb, concentrate or disperse sha chi is only wishful thinking.

Question: Can Feng Shui bring you wealth?

Feng Shui can create a harmonious environment that improves a person's health, the clarity of mind and alertness. In this way the person has the energy and wisdom to deal with a lot of things including making money. Good Feng Shui does not bring you wealth if you do not go for it but it should give you the necessary urge to seek fame and fortune.

Question: Are toilets harmful (to health, wealth and marriage)?

A toilet in ancient China is a dirty place. Germs multiply there and cause health problems. When someone is sick, money has to be spent and a lot of money making opportunities are missed. It also has a bad effect on the relationship between family members particularly the husband and the wife. Therefore it should be located at a remote position. In today's houses unless you do not flush the toilets and maintain them in clean and hygienic condition, toilets do not contribute any harmful effects. Some of the ancient Feng Shui rules have to be revised. It is irresponsible teaching that flushing the toilet flushes out the wealth.

Question: My indoor plants wither and die. Is this bad Feng Shui?

Yes. If you put your house plant in a place with fresh air, sunshine, right humidity and temperature, free from harmful radiation (sha chi), there is no reason why it will not grow well. What is bad for a plant is also bad for you. Find out the cause and do something to cure the house.

Question: The fish in my aquarium died. Has it sacrificed for me? Is my house under the attack of sha chi? Do I continue to replace the dead fish so that another live one will sacrifice for me?

The fish did not sacrifice for you. It died because the environment is unsuitable. Find out the cause and make the necessary corrections. We install a fish tank because we need the water element to promote wealth luck. We do not use the fish to "absorb" the sha chi and die for us.

Question: Some Feng Shui masters say that when the needle in the Luo Pan is unstable in a house, the house is haunted. He will have to drive away the evil spirit and bless the house. Is this true?

The needle in the Luo Pan is unstable because the electro-magnetic field in the house is not stable. It may be due to the fluctuating strength of the electric current in cables nearby or some unknown source of magnetic instability. In fact, the Luo Pan reading inside a house is never accurate nowadays especially in high rise buildings. Feng Shui practitioners using the Luo Pan to "trace" the energy inside a house is just fooling his clients. The Luo Pan is only used to find the sitting and facing of a building. It is to be used outdoors where it is free from electro-magnetic interference. Anyone who moves around inside the house holding the Luo Pan in hand is just acting.

Question: Can you tell me in which direction (clockwise or anti-clockwise) should the Tai Ji (better known as the "yin-yang" in the west) rotate? In some books it is clockwise while in some others it is anti-clockwise.

The Tai Ji is in fact three dimensional. It is a sphere, not a circle. If it is clockwise on one side, it will be anti-clockwise on the other. It is like a pair of fish connected head to tail and tail to head. In the space, we should not have the sense of up and down. Therefore it does not matter whether it rotates clockwise or anti-clockwise, vertically or horizontally placed. Do not consider the invention of the reverse ba gua as a great discovery. On the other hand, it is not necessary to make a fuss about nothing.

Question: Is there a career corner in a house? Some say it is the northern section of the house while others say that the section containing the entrance is responsible for career success.

We must take the entire house into consideration, not just a section of the house. If the stars responsible for wisdom and determination are well used, there will be success in studies for students and career for a grown up. The North (Water Palace in the Hou Tien Ba Gua) does contribute to wisdom but there are other considerations. The entrance to a house has unparalleled importance. It is not just responsible for career success.

Question: Can Feng Shui save a broken marriage or a business from bankruptcy?

Yes and no. If the form and stars are all but a mess, no matter what is done with the intention to cure, it will be a futile effort. Some places are just beyond our capability to correct. The only solution is to move to a suitable place. If we can turn a place into one that is in harmony, full of energy and love, the intended results can be expected.

Question: What are Heaven Luck, Earth Luck and Man Luck?

In modern language it is simply Time, Space and Event.

At a certain time there are happenings in the Universe that affect every individual. In the large there are stars born and destroyed. In the small the assigned value of the time variable produces a certain functional value to a person's luck equation. We call this Heaven Luck.

Different places in the Universe are subjected to different conditions. In a smaller scale, opportunities in different parts of the word are entirely different. If we take a more individualized scale, where a person is located may determine a lot of his life. This is Earth Luck. A simpler way of saying is that Feng Shui affects the well being of people.

What a man does is the cause of some result. The decision made at a cross road determines the result. This is Man Luck.

Heaven Luck is beyond our control. We have to live with it. Some people are just born lucky. Some have to work much harder to be recognized and rewarded. Earth Luck and Man Luck are what we can manage. If a person works hard and performs noble acts, with the help of feng shui, the achievement can be outstanding even if the Heaven Luck is not that satisfactory.

Question: Your correspondence course costs less than one-tenth of what most feng shui courses are priced. Is there anything to learn at all?

Good question. Long time ago in China there lived a great feng shui master. His name is Yang Yun Song but he was better known as Yang the Saviour of the Poor. He provided free feng shui services to poor people. These poor people got rich later. I hear complaints about the expensive charges for feng shui seminars. In order that authentic feng shui can be available to everyone, I make it affordable. People after taking the courses are thrilled with what they have learnt. See what people say about these courses.

Question: Do you teach Form School, Compass School or the Ba Gua School?

The feng shui I teach covers form and formula but they are integrated together instead of being two different schools of thought. The Ba Gua I employ is the original Ba Gua handed down by Fu Xi and Wen Wang. The New Age Ba Gua is only a toy and cannot be taken with seriousness.

Question: Where did you learn your Feng Shui?

I learnt this art purely from ancient books verified by practical feng shui audit for houses in various parts of the world. Most of the theoretical parts come from these valuable classics:

Yi Jing (I Ching)
Zang Shu (The Burial Book)
Qing Nang Jing (The Green Satchel Classic)
Tian Yu Jing (The Heavenly Jade Classic)
Han Long Jing (The Classic of Challenging the Dragon)
Yi Long Jing (The Classic of Spying the Dragon)
Qing Nang Xu (Preface to the Green Satchel Classic)
Qing Nang Ao Yu (Delving into the Green Satchel Classic)
Xuan Kong Mi Zhi (Secrets of Time and Space)
Xuan Ji Fu (Ode to Mysiticism)
Du Tian Bao Zhao Jing (A Treatise of Form and Formula)
Shen's Xuan Kong Xue (Master Shen's Time-Space Feng Shui School)
Zi Bai Jue (The Secret of the Purple and White Stars)
Fei Xing Fu (Ode to Flyign Stars)

Question: Some people say that you cannot learn Feng Shui without a Shifu. Is it true?

Without a Shifu it is much more difficult. The Great Master Yang Yun Song (Tang Dynasty), Jiang Da Hong (Ming-Qing Dynasty), and Shen Zhu Reng (Qing Dynasty) are undisputed greatest Feng Shui Masters. They all learnt from books and practices.

Question: Do you provide services to people who want to bury the dead in a fortunate grave site?

Yes. I will choose a site with good feng shui to bury the dead. There is nothing wrong for honoring the dead. But if you ask me whether a site with good feng shui will bring fortune to the descendants, my answer is that it is merely wishful thinking. People have to make their own fortunes with the ancestors' blessing.

Question: Is there a cure for every house with ill feng shui?

Is there a cure for all kinds of disease?

Question: I have seen feng shui masters tracing the energy in a house using the Luo Pan. How does it work?

The Luo Pan is an instrument to determine the sitting and facing of a site. Once this is done, the energy map can be drawn for the house. The audit will then be based on the energy map (star chart). If you see someone walking inside a house focusing on his Luo Pan pretending to be tracing the energy, he is not an authentic feng shui practitioner. This is merely a fraud.

Question: I live in the Southern Hemisphere. Can Classical Feng Shui be applied here in Australia?

Yes, without modifications. It appears that the Later Ba Gua, for example, must be modified. It appears that it does not make sense to have the Fire Palace in the South and the Water Palace in the North down under. Down under, the South is cold and the North is hot. It appears that the Fire Palace is to be located on the north while the Water Palace on the south. If you remember that energy comes from all over the Universe, and that our Sun is only a small part of it, then it does not matter where on earth you are, the same kind of energy comes from the same direction. In other words, the same method that we use in the Northern Hemisphere is also valid in the Southern Hemisphere. See Feng Shui for Southern Hemisphere.

Question: Is traditional feng shui still good today?

Yes and No, The principles are still good. The details are to be modified. Modern city planning and house designs are very much different from the ancient world. The principle that beauty is truth and truth beauty is universally and all-time valid.

Question: Is feng shui a science?

Not yet. The principles in feng shui are hypothesis that have not been verified by repeated experiments. Feng shui masters collected their own statistical data that cannot be viewed as conclusive. The superstitious outfit of corrupt feng shui drives away scientists from this probably scientific study.

Question: I know that anything dead has bad chi. What is the effect of dried flowers, silk flowers, or plastic flowers?

Not anything dead has bad chi. If your house or your furniture are made of wood, then there are too many dead objects in your house. Do they create sha chi? Of course not. Then why bother about dried flowers? As long as they are beautiful it does not matter whether they are dried flowers, silk flowers or plastic flowers. What is beautiful is a source of sheng chi. Living flowers have one more ingredient - that of life and are more suitable. The elemental significance of dried flowers is weak. Therefore they are rather neutral in Feng Shui considerations.

Master Joseph Yu is known internationally for his experience / knowledge / seminar work in Feng Shui and Chinese Astrology. He is a founding member of the Feng Shui Association of Canada. He is the author of the 'Complete Idiot's Guide to the I Ching' and contributed to the 'Complete Idiot's Guide to Feng Shui'.
Visit him at his sites www.astro-fengshui.com and
E-mail: josephyu@astro-fengshui.com

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The Philosophy of Feng Shui
by Paul Darby Ph.D., The Feng Shui Doctor

In this series of articles, I shall try to show you the depth of the connections that Feng Shui has with the philosophies which grew up around it. It is important to lay deep and strong foundations before building up your course of practical Feng Shui applications. It will all be worth it! At the end of the series you will see all of the connections and thus be able to explain why Feng Shui is like it is, and be able to demonstrate in simple terms its symbols and metaphors to the most skeptical. Incidentally, Feng Shui is like the Law of Gravity, in that you do not have to believe in it for it to work. It just is! It just does!

So, to understand Feng Shui, it is essential to know a little about the philosophies surrounding it. Taoism, Tai Chi , Meditation, Buddhism and Shinto. Much confusion can be caused if you do not study these basic traditions. From them, their rituals and their thinking, it becomes obvious what Feng Shui is and how it should be treated. Taken in isolation, Feng Shui can be seen as just the ramblings of superstitious minds, when in fact it is much, much more.

At the end of these articles, you will know a great deal about Feng Shui , how and why it works and how to apply it to your own and, to your friends' lives.

Taoism

The particularly strong characteristics of the earth science known as Feng Shui lie deeply within the ancient Chinese philosophy known as Taoism, but it also has certain connections with Confucianism as well as Buddhism and Japanese Shinto. Feng Shui also links across to Vashtu Shastri in India and even has connections with Native American Questing and Space Clearing as well as Ancient Egyptian mythology with wild touches of the Knights Templar, Freemasonry and mystic Hebrew! Quite a mixture. It also has strong echoes with the eastern martial arts, in particular Tai Chi and the exercise regime of Chi Kung.

Taoism, pronounced 'Dowism' is a name which has been applied to a kind of naturalistic religion and a number of schools of philosophy found in Ancient China. It should be said however that before Taoism, pictures of animals and symbols connected with Feng Shui have been found which date back into prehistory. The actual term Taoism was not used until the Han dynasty in the 2nd century AD. Its main beliefs and rituals had merged into the main concept of the 'Tao' as being the unity behind the multiplicity of things. The Tao is 'the way', the nothingness from which all things are created to take part in 'becoming and unbecoming'--the constant whirl of life, surrounded by the vibrational energies given off by all things, known as 'chi'. It is interesting to note that 'becoming and unbecoming' fits very well into the basic theories of Quantum Physics, i.e., nothing stays the same---- and with the working of the electromagnetic fields around the earth known as the Van Allen Belts [which were only discovered in 1958!].

From Tao, 'nothingness' came Yin and Yang, opposites which attract, from Yin and Yang developed the five elements --- Earth, Water, Fire, Metal and Wood. From the five elements came the '10,000'things', i.e.-everything else. So, everything is a part of the Tao, the oneness, the tapestry of life and everything is built up from yin/yang --- opposites, trying to become each other --- female/male and from a mixture of the five elements. It is these basic ingredients which form the chi, flowing in from all the Compass directions, used in Feng Shui, colourfully known as 'the dragon's breath.'

Taoism is thought to be the philosophy of Lao Tzu who, some sources say, was born in South China in 604BC. It may well be however, that he did not really exist and that the philosophy of Taoism, like Feng Shui, came from a group of learned sages and masters. There are many stories connected with Lao Tzu, saying that he and the Buddha were the same person and that Lao Tzu was born at the age of eighty! What a pregnancy that must have been!!!!! Lao Tzu, or the group of sages known as Lao Tzu, wrote the book called The Tao Teh Ching, which tells of the nature of life in harmony with the universe. It is a book which brings together many of the concepts of Taoism and Feng Shui as well as the broad beliefs of Buddhism and Shinto.

But remember, Feng Shui had already existed, probably back into prehistoric times, from human beings watching nature and working out his/her connections with it. Feng Shui had been used in the siting of gravesites to protect them from feng 'wind' and shui' water. Feng Shui , pronounced Fung Schway [or Fong Choy], was brought into the philosophy of Taoism and became part of the way of life for the Ancient Chinese. It was not a 'Sunday' religion, but very much a practical way of organising your environment and life.

The arts of Feng Shui in the environment, were also used in the internal environment of the human body through Chinese medicine, especially acupuncture. In my study of Taoism, particularly the writings of Kristofer Schipper, I have been amazed by the many rituals of Taoism in which the human body is referred to as a land, a natural environment, with rivers and mountains, its chi energy helped by Tai Chi, acupuncture and other forms of medicine and exercise. Feng Shui and Taoism, then later on, Buddhism, also blended with the way of martial arts, particularly Kung Fu .

Without going into the vast detail which I had to study, you are already beginning to see how Feng Shui is not an isolated earth science or art form, but rather it is an important part of a huge picture, a way of life to the Ancient Chinese, which therefore linked together and made complete sense and was not an 'airy fairy, mystical mumbo jumbo'!

This is the danger in what I call 'The Emperor's New Clothes Syndrome', the blinding of people with mystical terms and phrases--stay way from it--keep it down to earth, and so, by using The Compass School Feng Shui explained in this course, it can always be approached as practical, simple and well proved!

In Taoism, salvation, enlightenment, is not brought by deep religious prayer but rather by the careful observance of nature, the natural ways of life, the seasons, the flowing forces of chi, the natural energies all around us. These meandering flows of subtle energies flow throughout the environment and through the human body. The Tao, the eternal movement of these energies, is the all embracing ultimate principle which existed before all else. The Tao is the life force, which emits the chi, the 'dragon's breath' and right through Chinese history, chi is referred to, along with-the four celestial animals of the four cardinal compass points [north, south ,east and west]. These symbols were being used in ritual earthenware and decoration, so the dragon, the phoenix, the turtle and the tiger were well known before Taoism really got going. They were symbols of the types of chi, the energy, the calm, the dangerous, the nurturing, the lively---all the subtle 'winds'swirling through the lives of humans.

The aim of the philosophical Taoist was to become one with the Tao realizing the universal law of 'the return of everything to its source'. Many years later Taoists tried to achieve this through becoming immortal. There are many legends of immortality and the symbols of it which remain today in such things as the crane, the deer and the pine tree. In these symbols, along with the Chinese astrological animals, there are strong links to Buddhism, Shintoism and even Hinduism. Taoists, through meditation and ritual, were trying to find a special kind of emptiness-'wu'-and simplicity-'pu' and abide in non-action-'wu wei', just be-ing rather than do-ing.

In this, Taoism shares certain similarities with Buddhism . The insistence that the intellect cannot comprehend the Unknowable, the Tao, which once named is not the Tao any longer. Taoism teaches that understanding is not derived from knowledge or theory- but, by comprehension of what is obvious------ by observing nature and the natural laws of the weather, the seasons and in particular the flowing of water, which though gentle is so very strong. Here, once again, the philosophy contained within Taoism, Buddhism, Japanese Shinto and Tibetan Bon have very strong connections with Feng Shui.

Taoism had existed alongside Confucianism and Buddhism in China throughout the centuries, and along with Feng Shui, it had exerted a great influence on Chinese intellectual, poetical, artistic and spiritual life as well as the ordinary everyday life. As Yin and Yang are opposites striving to blend, so Confucianism and Taoism seem to be opposites and yet were brought together as a combined way of life by the Chinese, very much as a way of living rather than a set religion.

They were simple, near to nature and part of the everyday world of farming, crops, weather, illness and death Taoists saw a return to rural simplicity, in which people would be content to conduct their lives unconcerned with what went on in the next village, as being the ideal to aim for---the perfect, simple life. The Taoists valued the mountains' solitude and also believed that mountain tops brought them closer to the sources of the Tao than anywhere else. The rolling mountain landscapes were the sleeping dragons, the rivers its veins of flowing blood and the energies of chi, 'the dragon's breath'. The mountain monastery tradition carried through into Japan with many of the Buddhist retreats being up in the mountains. The yin and yang ideas also traveled to Japan to become Japanese Feng Shui, known as 'Inyodo'.

Two forces operate throughout the universe-----yin and yang. We will see in Lesson Two, how these opposites are used in meditation and Tai Chi as well as Feng Shui. Confucianism was seen as a Yang philosophy, strong and forceful----Taoism, on the other hand is gentle and so is yin, soft and feminine. Kung Fu is yang, Tai Chi is yin. Its power, the power of the chi, the 'dragon's breath' comes directly from nature.

Water, as stated before, represents the Tao and the great importance of water in Feng Shui is very powerful and can be explained from its links with Taoism and Buddhism. Indeed, Taoists used water with other natural herbs and fungi to try to achieve immortality. Meditation, breath control and sexual yoga became known as internal alchemy and all three were practised. Buddhists, Hindus and to a lesser degree Confucianists also used these tantric (secret, quick) methods as a way of searching for enlightenment.

When Buddhism first came into China, the Taoists took many of its features. This carried on right up to the Mao Revolution period when Feng Shui, Buddhism and Taoism were banned by the communists, but now they are back again in the mainstream life of China. In towns as well as in the countryside too, some of the larger Taoist temples are again functioning. Now the temples are built of stone, not wood, so that they can never again be burnt down, as they were in the early 1950's. In Hong Kong and Taiwan, Taoism and Buddhism never really went away. It is interesting that in Hong Kong and Taiwan, the tradition of Feng Shui is extremely strong. Note how strong and prosperous both these communities are!

Apart from Taoism and Buddhism, Chinese society was also strongly influenced by another body of ideas-Confucianism. Kung Fu Tzu(551-479 BC), westernised into the name Confucius, was the founder of the first Chinese wisdom school .Confucius believed that good government was a matter of ethics, people must play their assigned roles in a fixed society under authority. He wrote strict moral teachings, based on the strong foundation of institutions and practices that have been used by the Chinese for centuries, and that were once again linked to Feng Shui. To accept the inevitability of the world was one of the outstanding characteristics of the ideal person of Confucius. It became a personal philosophy for how each person lives their lives and was strongly aligned with the natural laws governing Feng Shui.

Feng Shui is concerned with the enhancement of 'earth luck', doing what you can with the environment around you, to make it as healthy and harmonious as you can. Merit, good luck achieved through good works and karmic luck, inherited from previous lives can never be affected by Feng Shui.

It is important to note then that in the practice of Feng Shui, you can never guarantee the dismissal of all problems and pain. Feng Shui is an important piece of the jigsaw, but it is just one piece. What Feng Shui does do every time, without fail, is to attract better luck for you and also enable you to deal with bad times in a much better way than if Feng Shui had not been applied. You are living in harmony with your environment rather than fighting against it. Luck then, is not just accidental as we seem to think in the West, it relies on earth luck, the chi in your environment and how you use it, this 'dragon's breath'. Merit luck is how you conduct yourself through life and karmic luck is passed through from previous lifetimes. Karmic and merit luck are particularly connected to Buddhism. It is important that clients realise that Feng Shui will not necessarily bring a magical cure into their lives. It often does, but because we are only dealing with one third of the 'luck', sometimes, life although improving, will still have its difficulties and problems.

Chinese Buddhism, with its concepts of merit and karma, developed through the 6th and 7th centuries. It divided into two distinct schools, Chan Buddhism which used meditation and the other school developed into a strongly devotional sect which practised the invocation of particular Buddhas and was a definite religion rather than a philosophy. These Buddhas, notably Ho Tai and Tara, also known as Quan Yin, are used in Feng Shui enhancements, for cures and protection.

So, in later lessons, you will see how these certain Buddha figures, both male and female, crop up along with Taoist immortals in the symbolic applications of Feng Shui. In Japan too, where Feng Shui is known as inyodo (the way of Yin and Yang), these Buddha figures are used in Feng Shui, as well as elements of its own very ancient religion, Shinto. Shinto is very similar in many ways to Taoism and the nature loving philosophies of Tibet and Ancient China, where Tai Chi and secret Tantric practice developed through the observation of nature, in particular the forces of wind and water.

Throughout all of the philosophies mentioned in previous articles, meditation was used. It was, and still is, hard work and can be made easier by the influences of Feng Shui! Meditation stressed oral instruction and was constantly looking to nature for examples. It became the strong inspiration for artistic and poetic creativity. Riddles and questions were asked of the meditation students who were then left to ponder them. These became the famous koans of Zen Buddhism in Japan. Meditation, and the philosophies associated with it, is concerned with things as they are ----not how you would like them to be and in this way it links again to the practice of Feng Shui.

Feng Shui is working with things as they are, to try and enhance your life, bringing your life into harmony and balance with its surroundings, the principles of yin and yang, comprising the five elements of water, earth, fire, metal and wood. The essence of all things, made of the elements in different combinations, the chi, is eternal, immutable and independent-worldly things arise, pass away and so are empty-once again, the very core of Taoism and Buddhism.

Buddhism was spread into Japan in the 6th century by Korean and then Chinese scholars. Japan had borrowed all things Chinese anyway, including its written language, so this was a natural progression. Once again, as in China, Buddhism combined with the philosophy which was already there. Tai Chi was already there and so we believe was Feng Shui, Buddhism blending into Shintoism, completed the picture! Chi became the Japanese---'Ki'. Shinto, the ancient Japanese way of thinking about life and death, -the way of the Gods, was very simply paying reverence to all things in nature, its spirits and human ancestors-so the links to Taoism and Feng Shui were extremely strong. Shinto teaches that all things, animate and inanimate have their own kami-gods, special spirits-which protect the living and their dead ancestors. Shinto emphasised rituals of bodily cleanliness and fertility. Buddhism and then Zen Buddhism fitted very well into this love of nature and ritual.

Feng Shui, meaning 'wind and water' was a natural way of looking at things. 'Wind and water' were seen as the two most important and natural elements which helped to underline the theories of Buddhism. Wind and water were the intermediaries between earth and heaven. Feng Shui was first used in the siting of graves. It was important to site the graves of ancestors in good places that would be unaffected by floods [water] and typhoons [wind]. If the graves were disturbed--- then bad luck would descend upon the living members of the family!

Also, water is the sustainer of life and has been used in many rituals in many religions and philosophies throughout the ages. Taoism and Buddhism as we have mentioned, used water a great deal in their practices. Soon, common festivals spread across all the philosophies of China and Japan. For example, on the fifteenth day of the seventh lunar month, the Chinese carry out a ritual and communal banquet which is intended to release suffering souls from hell. This festival is Buddhist in origin, but in China, Taoist priests would perform their own versions of the ritual and the same happened with Shinto priests in Japan. The closeness of these philosophies to the simple, everyday way of life and cycles of nature cannot be emphasised enough-and this thinking still exists today within the very elements of Feng Shui.

Chi, the essence of nature, the essence of everything, is the vital life giving energy which flows inside us, inside everything. It is the energy flowing through the meridians or invisible channels of the body, used in acupuncture and meditation and now proved to exist by the experiments of Chinese doctors in America. Chi is the energy spinning in the Chakra centres of the body as used in Yoga. It is the energy used in martial arts, notably, Kung Fu, Karate and Tai Chi. It flows like wind and water. Indeed, Buddhist mantras are said to be carried around the body by special 'riding'winds.

At the agricultural, or garden level, chi is the life force which, if not stagnant, ensures fertile crops, flowers, shrubs and trees. At a climatic level, chi is carried on the wind and on the waters. As stated before, Feng means wind and Shui, water--the two elements which dominated life in Ancient China. These two natural elements were important in connection with the siting of graves and the growing of crops. Later on the Feng Shui principles, of 'wind' and 'water', with the flowing of the 'chi' from the eight compass directions became important in the building and the design of the interiors of houses.

These energies in India and Japan became important in the siting of religious buildings. In India, the siting of these temples uses the art of Vashtu Shastri. Where temples were constructed was all important, since chi enlivens the earth as as well as the body. Slow, meandering rivers or streams accumulate chi in the land nearby. Living, praying, meditating near or on concentrations of chi is therefore a source of greater concentration, clear headedness, wealth, health and happiness and links directly back to the Taoist sages and the Tantric Buddhist masters who used the chi to help during their meditations to bring enlightenment. This is how chi helps in the accumulation of earth 'luck', something which can be worked at, enhanced and improved.

The essence of Feng Shui is------ to analyse a landscape, house, office, garden and to determine where the most favourable flows of chi are located, and then work out how to produce new chi or enhance existing chi concentrations. When the chi does not flow freely, stagnant chi will accumulate. This must be dispersed and its harm reduced as much as possible. You will learn the main techniques for achieving this by working through the lessons of this course. Once your good chi provides you with an increasingly positive attitude to the world, as through Tai Chi, yoga, meditation, chakra cleansing-your reaction to those around you becomes much more positive.

Feng Shui does NOT imply a lack of free will. It simply suggests that it is much easier to go with the flow than fight against it! By careful manipulation of Feng Shui techniques you can ensure that the flow, the chi, is going your way-or---- is it you going the way of the flow???

This flow of chi energy within you and outside you is constantly mixing together. Every building, garden, landscape, town, street etc etc, has its own unique movement of chi -- natural-- and man made electro magnetic energy fields. Wherever you are, your own flow of chi is constantly being influenced by your surroundings. Hence the feeling of ----- this is a 'nice' place or the feeling of 'I don't like it here.' Beams and sharp corners, chi rushing through in straight lines can make you feel very uneasy! It is therefore important to be able to control the chi of your environment through Feng Shui, but also, if you can, your own chi flow by using Tai Chi and meditation. Once again, these control methods link back directly to Taoism, Buddhism and the martial arts.

Awareness, Balance and Control/Calmness are so important in the uses of Feng Shui, meditation and Tai Chi. A lack of any of the above-A-B-C-will show through into your life as stress, tension, anger, illness and suffering. Feng Shui is one good way of attempting to restore the balance, the calmness, control and awareness of your life. It has a highly complex and well structured philosophy as we have seen, its pedigree is a long one and is connected and interwoven with the major philosophies of the Far East. It needs years and years of practice, an in-depth understanding and sincere intuition which only comes with the practice!

Congratulations-you have taken the first step on a very long journey.

You will structure your life around a series of tried and tested principles so that all the energies within and around you are aligned in harmonious balance. Your Awareness will be total, your Balance superb and your Calmness and Control increased! Having achieved all of that, opportunities for good fortune are more likely to open up to you, and you will find that you are in a position to recognise and grasp them. Also, if bad luck happens to come your way, and it can never be totally within our control----you will be in a much better position to cope with it and to defend yourself!

Feng Shui is a way of life, it will encourage you to be more observant of your environment and to reflect on the ways it influences your life.

Keep an open mind!

Paul Darby is known for his work on British/International TV, magazines and media in general. He provides workshops, clinics, lectures and private consultations in Feng Shui analysis, Chinese Astrology and meditation.
Visit his website: http://www.fengshuidoctor.co.uk/

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Feng Shui and Symbolism
by Jenny Liu

Symbols impact our subconscious mind, they invoke memories from our past and stimulate our present experiences. Because our subconscious mind makes up about 95% of our mind frame, the power of symbols on our well-being is infinitely strong. The art and science of symbolism plays an important role in feng shui.

The idea of symbolism is an integral part of the Chinese culture where everything has a deeper meaning and effect. This can be seen in the Chinese language. Each Chinese character is a symbol, a picture that connotes an idea or concept. Often times, these ideas and concepts simply cannot be justified through English simply because of the cultural experience required to understand the deeper meaning of these words. Therefore, literal translations are often misleading. It is important to understand that because the Chinese language communicates with pictures, symbolism is deeply ingrained in their way of life, the culture, the philosophies.

It is very apparent in Chinese art, architecture, music, and so forth that it is important for things to have an innate meaning or purpose. Empowered with a meaning or purpose allows it to stimulate our mind at a subconscious level. Symbols do not necessarily have to be physical. It can be anything that has the power of suggestion. Sound, smells and color are all frequencies that can be associated to certain ideas as well. That is why there are songs, fragrances, and colors that can be happy, sad, exciting, soothing, arousing, and so on. Even our feelings or dreams in a certain place or with a certain person are symbolic; they have an deeper subconscious significance that will affect us in our consciousness.

For instance, the image of the fish is often seen as a lucky symbol and is often used in the home or office. For most people, the fish is just a fish. For the Chinese, the image of the fish conjures up a lot more than just seafood. The word fish is "yu" which is the homonym for abundance. So, when they see it, it elicits the powerful mental thought of abundance. This is so culturally rooted and accepted, it is not only empowered only by the viewer but by generations of memory.

In feng shui, the house is symbolic of the person. The door is the mouth, the rooms on either side of the main door are the lungs, the center is the heart, the back door is the anus, the roof is the head, the windows are the eyes, and so forth. The house should be symmetrical like the human body. When it is awkwardly shaped, it will affect our body's well-being. If it sits on unstable lands, the people inside are likely to be unstable as well. Whether or not we area aware of this, it affects our subconscious and instinctual mind. If we open the door everyday and there is a wall or tree right in front of it, we are constantly confronting an obstruction. Generally speaking, this blockage can create a mental stagnation inducing things in our life occur likewise. In metaphor, it is hard to take in energy when something is blocking your mouth. Again, this may or may not affect us depending on our constitution.

Even inanimate objects such as pictures, paintings, jewelery, sculptures and so forth all possess qi or energy. They are symbols that were created by "thought" or brain frequencies that invoke a deeper significance and meaning to our subconscious mind. We are not always aware of its affect on us. Feng shui acknowledges symbolic associations and their influence on our psychological and physical well-being. Consequently in feng shui, it is vital to surround ourselves with images or symbols that "empower" our mind and bodies with positive energies that promote our growth.

There are geographic symbols as well. The shapes, color, vegetation, direction and so forth of a mountain are symbolic of what type of energy it possesses and how it can affect us. For instance, if we have green round mountains behind us, it offers protection and positive earth energies. However, we cannot benefit from mountains that are bald or rocky.

Whether we acknowledge it or not, everything around us has meaning and an effect on us. Feng shui is the art of creating an environment rich with symbolism that elicit positive thinking, mind focus, progress and prosperity at every level of our life. Once we become aware of our environment and its effects, we can empower it. This is extremely powerful because it becomes an reinforcement that promotes us. This is an infinitely upward spirally cycle of progress. The more energy we put into creating an environment that promotes us, the more it benefits us, the more we can improve our environment, and so forth.

Therefore, in feng shui, everything around us must be carefully selected and placed. The color, location, number, shape, size, type and so forth all have a special meaning and will affect us in a particular way. The goal is to make as many things as possible promote our well-being. No matter which way you turn, which room you go into, positive images and stimulus are always activating mental energies that induce positive thoughts that realize personal goals and desires.

It is vital that we understand the underlying meaning of the feng shui principles otherwise it is meaningless. When feng shui is not understood, it may seem arbitrary and nonsense, often wrongly accused of being magical or superstitious. In reality, it is simply based on common sense, natural laws and over 8,000 years of experience. It is unfortunate that so much information is twisted and misunderstood through translation and hearsay.

It is a shame for anyone to dismiss or criticize anything without understanding it first. However, just accepting it is not enough, it is so much more powerful to learn and understand why feng shui works. We cannot embrace something new and gain from it without an open mind.

Master Jenny T. Liu has an MA degree in Architecture from UCLA. As the daughter/disciple of Master Liu Chi Jen, she has worked alongside her father actively contributing their combined knowledge through community organizations, newspapers, TV and the Internet. She is also currently writing a book with her father on Feng Shui to promote this natural way of living for the benefit of humanity. Visit her website at www.liu-fengshui.com E-mail: NFSC168@aol.com

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Wild, Wild Western Feng Shui
by Rhea Peake

Feng Shui literally means wind and water. It describes their natural flow along the path of least resistance. Energy can be welcomed or repelled, cultivated or diverted, stagnant or circulating. It can rage like rapids or become as reflective as a lake.

In Asian societies this law of nature was observed and contemplated for over 3,000 years by the masters: philosophers, mathematicians, scientists, spiritual sages and healers. Over millennia, these great minds contemplated, refined, synthesized and processed this information into their Book of Wisdom, the I Ching. They described the flow of energy in all life as Chi and the sacred natural order to life as Feng Shui.

The art of Feng Shui is the process of enhancing the flow of Chi. It is the art and science of cultivating flow in one's environments, and thus in one's life, facilitating change rather than being at the mercy of the chaotic effects of its turbulent forces. At its essence, it is based on a simple truth: all life is interrelated and dynamically changing.

According to this principle Chinese society blossomed into the oldest and most advanced, strongest and most prosperous, cultural and scientific centers in the world. Those who prospered were esteemed for their understanding and great skill in the practical application of Feng Shui. Families skillfully employing Feng Shui established long lineages of valuable tradition and continuity.

We as a society are infantile to these concepts because our history and heritage have been lost to a series of technological, military and cultural upheavals. How many of us can speak our ethnic languages, identify with the cultural customs from a previous generation, or even remember all the street addresses at which we have lived?

We pride ourselves in living miles from where we grew up and extol the 'benefits' of our upwardly mobile lifestyles. But by jettisoning our family origins in search of lofty dreams of individual accomplishment, we move too quickly for health, creating what practitioners call a poison arrow - dangerously accelerated energy. When the Rhine River's meanders were bypassed in the industrial revolution to shorten the course, the river became too fast to navigate safely. By straightening and shortening it, the beautiful water's natural flow became a raging poison arrow of energy. Westerners struggle like boaters rowing upstream against the surging floodwaters of monsoon.

I was first exposed to Feng Shui in the 70's, studying Tai Chi and Tao meditation with the Chinese Master Ni, in Santa Barbara. Immersing myself in ancient literature, collecting antique silk kimonos and attending musical theatre and samurai film festivals, I became a student of Eastern culture. I studied Shiatsu at the Santa Barbara School of Massage and acupressure with the Japanese DoAhn Tsuneo Kaneko (founder of the Tao Healing Arts Center, Santa Monica). The I Ching and Feng Shui were natural extensions of my Eastern passion.

In those years, Feng Shui appealed to my sense of design, but I found it hard to incorporate traditional practices like painting the front door red to increase auspicious Chi; It would have been easier to sell avocado green to clients in those years. The Chinese traditional palette of black as the color of wealth, white as the color for grieving and red as the bridal color could not be less appropriate in North America - harlots and brides confused with wealth and death are cultural conflicts we can live without.

I found much of Feng Shui to be a diverse and mystifying field with distinct schools of superstitious numerologies, negative terminologies, and patriarchal astrologies. For example, a male head of a household's auspicious location for a bedroom took priority over his wife, for whom it could be a 'death room'.

But like many streams and rivers, the flows of Feng Shui thought ultimately converged in confluence with the Sea of Oneness, and the waters of these apparently dissimilar traditions shone clearly of one essential and natural truth.

And yet, this truth remained inaccessible. The entire cultural context from which Eastern Feng Shui was drawn felt polarized to my North American sensibilities, and the universal truth of Feng Shui was obscured beneath the underpinnings of Chinese tradition.

At the Western School of Feng Shui, I discovered at last the translation for Western society: Essential Feng Shui, based on the Chi Flow principles from the ancient Chinese book of wisdom, I Ching.

Today, I practice Western Feng Shui, empowering every one to live and work inspired by inviting and affirming change and growth. I travel throughout the west, spreading the harmonizing influence of ancient Eastern wisdom. This Western Feng Shui is inclusive of everyone, working for the good of the entire family or company, with each individual empowered for the combined greatest good with harm to none.

As a practitioner I am trained to 'see with Feng Shui eyes', to identify and remove the blocks in our thoughts by enhancing our homes, landscapes and offices with visual affirmations lifting spirits back into the flow of right action.

Knowledge of Feng Shui offers us insight into the invisible rivers of energy coursing through and around our lives. The I'Ching has been used as an oracle to understand life through its timelessly prophetic wisdom. Many of its teachings have surprisingly direct applications in modern day to day situations. One can study Feng Shui for a lifetime or simply observe it without understanding its complexities to become its beneficiary.

Many people are looking for direction and guidance. I have found it is not as important to know where you are going as it is to clear the path. The path will guide you, and removing the physical and emotional debris does wonders for clearing confusion. I often tell an overwhelmed or depressed client to go clean a single drawer, closest or refrigerator before calling me back to talk about the problematic situation and its solutions from a more empowered perspective. Resolution comes by combining doing with being.

Feng Shui begins with clearing clutter. Although it is the fun, creative and inventive aspect of the process, starting with enhancements would only amplify and magnify the problems, causing more chaos. It is better to enhance a clean slate.

Start small when clearing clutter, especially when you have been stuck for a long period staring at the overwhelming layers of papers, dust and clutter. Tackle one drawer, dish, or corner of a room at a time: small, segmented, short duration tasks. Several small tasks add up to a much larger task's completion. Feeling burdened sets us up for failure. The pile often started because of our burdening guilt.

Negative emotions are powerful blockages. They can feel like dams holding back an awesome weight of potential. Sometimes we don't want to unbalance ourselves with over-zealous enthusiasm. Begin with step by step applications like a meditation.

Our thinking makes us all architects of our environment and lifestyles. Who decides where we live, what furniture we live with or what cars we drive? As adults, we choose. It is easy to bask in the 'innocent' ignorance of one's own mental authority. But it is really easier to take the path of least resistance, moving with awareness of the enhancements and obstacles to our flow. Just as we place obstacles in our path, we can remove them. Seemingly insurmountable odds are overcome every day by the seekers of creative solutions. When you reach an impasse, all that you see before you can be transformed almost without moving. When you face a wall, simply turn around and begin anew; the obstacles disappear behind you. Your gloomy view of the future evaporates into clouds scudding into the past. Humans are one of the few animals who will repeatedly bang their heads against a wall instead of moving aside and trying another route. Even a mouse knows to turn and try another avenue when there is no cheese at the end of the maze. Feng Shui helps guide us to the cheese. Follow the fragrant and aromatic path of the wind and become flexible enough to change your perspective and try again.

Many Chinese Feng Shui practitioners carefully guard their knowledge and will not explain themselves or their process, whereas I teach Feng Shui as I go, actually facilitating, encouraging and participating in changes so that individuals are empowered to continue. I'm an unusually open consultant. Until I share a miracle or a life-changing thought, my job is not done. It is the "Ahah!" that opens and expands the threshold of positive change which I strive for with Feng Shui. I've been repeatedly advised not to share my trade secrets, but I trust this process is truth that will provide for all of us. Feng Shui is not about scarcity. It is manifesting a world of peace and harmony that is a birth right for each of us - an evolving cycle of change for the greater good of humankind. We are building a better society by combining the ancient wisdom of our collective cultures with the technologies and advancements of the future to create a better place here and now for every individual and for all time.

 

Rhea PeakeRhea Peake is an enviromancer, author, teacher, public speaker and a practitioner of Western Feng Shui. She has been published in International magazines like Vogue and featured on various programs on the CBC. Ms. Peake also has a media background, experience in photography and design, body therapies including acupuncture and acupressure and she is also a poet and leader of women's circles.
Her website is at www.enviromancy.com
E-mail: Rhea@enviromancy.com

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Feng Shui in the Bedroom: Romancing the Bagua
by Carole Hyder

If one of your goals for 2000 is to call a partner into your life or to enhance a partnership that is already existing but seems to be lacking the thrill it used to have, the best room in your home in which to make some adjustments is your master bedroom. This is true whether your master bedroom is in the Partnership corner of your house or not. The master bedroom represents a primary relationship no matter where it's located. Anytime there are relationship issues, particularly personal relationships, it is important to keep the bedroom in order and in a balanced and harmonious state.

One way to bring harmony into a bedroom is to incorporate as many round and/or oval shapes as possible. This could be a round or oval picture above the bed or a picture with round flower-like shapes in it. It could mean having some round night-stands or some small round pillows on the bed. The feelings of harmony could also be accomplished with a round or oval rug. Upholstery fabric, wallpaper, bedspread patterns or curtain patterns could incorporate some soft circular shapes. If some of the furniture can be placed at an angle in the corners of the room, this brings a more circular flow rather than having all the furniture straight up against the walls.

Using pairs of items emphasizes the idea of a couple---pairs of candles, two chairs, two decorative pillows, two matching potted plants. Seeing this "two-ness" reflected in the bedroom emphasizes the idea of intimacy and harmony with another person. It is also imperative that the room reflect both aspects of a relationship: male and female, yin and yang. If there's too much yin or female energy, the person who holds the yang energy in the relationship may feel uncomfortable. Pink lace curtains, flowered wallpaper motif complemented by small wicker furniture may appeal to the female part of the relationship but repulses the male aspect. Likewise an unbalance of yang energy results in the same outcome. A bedroom with oversized furniture, wild life prints on each of the walls and a stuffed moose-head positioned right about the gun cabinet would be out of balance. This male-female (yin-yang) balance is important even for same- sex relationships.

A bedroom must speak to romance whether you're romancing another person or yourself. "Romance" means different things to different people. To some people romance means flowers---to others it's the use of candles---some people think of rocking chairs---sometimes a particular color conjures up romantic ideas. Whatever it means to you, you need to have some element of it in your bedroom. If you're already involved with a partner, your idea of "romance" should coincide with your partner's idea of "romance." If you bring in flowers because they make you feel lavish and special but your partner is allergic to flowers, then another avenue needs to be explored so that both of you experience a feeling of romance.

If you're trying to call in a partner make sure that your current space has room for another person. Despite the objections I often hear that, if another person were to come into someone's life, they would move together into a different place, there is still a very overt message to a prospective partner if you have no room for them in your current space. This overcrowded condition doesn't just mean that there's no room physically, but that there's no room emotionally as well.

You can ask yourself if there would be any room in your closet for someone else's clothes. In order to make room, it may require you to simplify your closet dramatically. Even if, in the end, there was not enough closet space for someone else, the intention is that you have cleared some old things out and made room for another person. When a new partner moves into another partner's home, there's a critical blending that needs to happen or the new partner will forever feel like a visitor.

Be mindful of where you place your clothes hamper and your wastebasket in your master bedroom. You don't want to be "hampered" in any way or feel like your relationships are being "recycled" more than you like. Remove any dried flowers in the master bedroom since they are "dead" and cannot help to promote a blossoming and vital relationships. You do not want to have your bedroom overrun with stuffed animals depicting your childhood preferences. You do not want to be a child in your bedroom. Likewise having a picture of yourself as a baby or as a little kid in your bedroom also conjures up memories of you as a child. Having pictures of just about anyone in your bedroom can set up some hesitations when inviting in a partner---hanging pictures of your own children or of your parents can certainly make you feel self-conscious.

Your bedroom is meant to be just that---a room for your bed. It's not a workout space, a place of business or an entertainment hub. Your bedroom is for two things: sleep and intimacy. Anything that speaks to other activities needs to find a new "home" or at least be screened off at night so it's impact isn't as direct. This is personal space. No one else comes into your room except by your invitation. If your bedroom is just off the living room, you need to keep the door closed to prevent peering eyes from violating your private space. Now is the time you can begin to call in the passion you want and begin to realize your heart's desires by working some Feng Shui into your bedroom!

Carole HyderCarole J. Hyder is a Feng Shui consultant, speaker, author and trainer. She has studied with Professor Thomas Lin Yun and Roger Green. She is the author of Wind and Water: Your Personal Feng Shui Journey and also Living Feng Shui: Personal Stories.
Her Website is at www.carolehyder.com
E-mail: carole@carolehyder.com

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