the reality of feng shui
Are the concepts we use in feng shui real? Every now and then I like to simplify a subject to its bare essentials. When I do this I work on the assumption that the only thing that is real is how I feel – my thoughts and emotions.
This is my reality. Your reality is your thoughts and feelings. No-one can argue with it. Next we have what I like to call observational reality. We can watch the sun rise and set, look at the moon, feel the rain, listen to the thunder.
However no two people can ever experience the same thing at the same time as we cannot both be in the same place at the same time. In this sense we are alone. No-one else can experience the world exactly as I do. Each will have his or her own unique perception of the world. Human nature drives us to try and explain the universe we live in. As such we develop concepts to make sense of it.
That said I think it is essential to remember these concepts are simply different people’s ideas and not reality itself. I cannot think of any concept that accurately explains reality in every permutation. Even simple maths cannot do it. 2+2=4, except try it with drops of water and you get one. We can measure light as a wave or particles moving in almost straight lines. Quantum physics is based on probabilities not certainties.
Personally I do not believe concepts we use in feng shui accurately reflect reality. Yin and yang, five elements, trigrams and so on are all different people’s attempts to explain the way chi moves. A greater risk is layering concepts so that if you feel one of the base concepts is suspect all those above become irrelevant. Chi itself is different as with practice this is something you can feel and see. When I sense chi with my hands it makes up part of my own observational reality. However I still accept my experience of chi will be different from others.
why use feng shui concepts?
So why bother with feng shui concepts at all? For me concepts in general help me learn about other people’s thoughts and understanding of a subject, they help me discuss issues about feng shui in more depth, they give a body of knowledge cohesion and structure. Most importantly the concepts I use alter my perception of the world I live in.
My study of the feng shui concepts has radically altered my perception of the way humans interact with their environment and I have been able to confirm much of this through my own personal reality. In addition doing feng shui solely on the basis of the feeling of chi at the time would mean decisions are made based on a snap shot experience of how chi is moving at that moment.
Chi will change its flow at different times of day, for different phases of the moon, in another season or with different people in the home. From a purely scientific perspective simple being in someone’s home means I have altered the chi and am affecting my feng shui reading of what is happening there. For this reason I need some kind of objective structured view to give my feng shui work greater consistency.
To me it does not matter that the concepts are not real, it allows me greater flexibility, more room to think and a greater appreciation of my observational reality. I believe too great an attachment to feng shui concepts mean practitioners can no longer really connect with the world around them. Concepts create a reality filter that matches what really happens and how this compares to the concepts we holds dear.
When observational reality throws up something that does not match our concepts there is the risk that we favour our pet theory and ignore reality. If this happens a person can edge into a world of delusions. I believe this happens with a lot of subjects, including feng shui.
master your method
Reliance on any one concept is unnecessary, I believe feng shui consultants get just as good results regardless of the system of feng shui they employ, even though some feng shui interpretations can be contradictory.
Personally I think there is a large element of intuition based on experience, observational reality, people skills and common sense. I remember studying shiatsu with Shizuko Yamamoto. The classes were very repetitive and her method very simple. After a while I found that I could start to feel the difference between a tense and loose back. A few hundred treatments later I could feel chi. Later I began to feel the direction chi flowed, whether it was dense or thin, fast or slow, constrained or expanding and so on.
This only happened because through Shizuko’s guidance I always used the same system. I had a reference point I could make comparisons with. If I kept changing my system I would be confused. The same works in feng shui. Be consistent and you will master your method through practice and experience.
empowerment or enslavement?
There are two types of feng shui. Helping people improve their environment so they can do more in life (homes) and designing a specific atmosphere into a building so that a variety people using it can feel better whilst they are there (offices, shops, restaurants, airports).
In the first scenario (healing feng shui) I am only really interested in the people. In this situation it is essential to have a clearly defined relationship with my feng shui client. It would be very easy to abuse the relationship and try to enslave the feng shui client to one particular form of feng shui and to me as his or her practitioner.
My understanding of feng shui is that a person living in a home will take in the atmosphere or chi and this will influence the way he or she feels. I do not believe changing the chi in a home will make any direct difference to anybodies wealth, relationships or career. However, it will help someone feel different, perhaps more confident, assertive, positive, relaxed, and out of this they could cultivate better relationships, get a promotion, find ways to earn more money.
The importance of this is that the person or client is in control. They are making things happen in their life and feng shui is merely helping the process, making it easier to feel the way they need to feel to succeed. This approach is very different from the idea the feng shui cures will bring in more money or the ideal lover, it empowers the person rather than risking enslaving them to another person’s ideology. In this respect feng shui is simply a tool to harness the forces of nature in a way that encourages certain emotional responses in humans.
With my chosen mind set I find it difficult to recommend feng shui cures that do not obviously change chi flow. I am confident that for example painting a room a different colour subjects the space to different frequencies of light waves and that as these light waves pass through my outer chi field it stimulates my chi differently and out of this I will feel different. Lighting also changes the frequencies bouncing around a room and is a great mood changer.
I know from experience that different surfaces change the way chi flows across them. A marble floor feels very different from wood or then again carpet. Then we go onto what I call external influences of our inner chi. These are materials we find in our body that will communicate with the chi deep inside us as they radiate a similar frequency of chi. These are water, salt and iron. These are less obvious and rely on a greater level of faith but intuitively and intellectually makes sense to me. If we are surrounded by healthy water its chi will have a positive influence on the water chi in our bodies.
I am a great advocate of indoor plants as they bring more living chi to an otherwise artificial space and I am convinced humans feel better when surrounded by natural materials – wood, cotton, stone, clay, metal. I also see the sense in being surrounded by positive imagery and how seeing a picture that induces positive emotions helps self generate a different internal chi in a similar way that moving into a different atmosphere might. However as the type of imagery that will do this is personal it requires my client to be in control of the process.
All these chi changing tools work anywhere in any culture. There is nothing to make anyone feel self conscious or that they might be using remedies based on another culture’s superstitions.
I have developed my own thinking about feng shui that at this point in time works for me. I do not expect anyone else to agree or for it to work for them, however I would encourage everyone involved in feng shui to deeply think through what feng shui really means to them without any attachments to any concepts or fear of thinking the unthinkable. Clear out any ideas that you are not sure about and fill the vacuum with whatever you honestly feel confident with. If we can be open and expect the unexpected our unfiltered connection with the world around us becomes stronger.
Book an online or in person feng shui consultation with Simon to help create a home or workspace that best helps you feel happy and successful.