What is Feng Shui Anyway?

Marketing executives at Bloomingdales in New York consult regularly with a Feng Shui (Rhymes with young and pronounced foung – schway ) expert. They know what people in China and Hong Kong have known for a long time – that good Feng Shui produces good business along with success, wealth, good health, loving relationships, and harmonious environments.

Literally translated Feng Shui means “wind and water” and is the ancient art and science of placement. Feng Shui is used to analyze built and natural environments and to determine the Chi or life energy in a place.

Understanding Chi or universal energy is the key to understanding Feng Shui. Chi is the unifying principle of energy and the underlying force that links man to all things in this world and to all realms of existence. This is not a world of inanimate forms but a living vibrant energy that pulsates at different speeds creating this universe. It is the air we breathe, the spirit that inhabits the body, the force of a river, the cry of a baby, the frightened vibration when we’re scared, a different vibration when we love. To create a space that is conducive to the accumulation and flow of good Chi is the ultimate goal of Feng Shui.

When we know all things are connected, we know home Chi or business Chi can affect our personal Chi. We may think our business life is separate from our personal life but to the universe wofs birth weight, energy does not distinguish between one thing and another – it simply flows and readily adapts to the situation at hand. A home environment that is peaceful and harmonious will be filled with good Chi and that vibration will be transferred to all other areas of a person’s life.

Simple solutions such as moving a bed catty-corner to the door so as not to be startled, or placing a plant in front of a pointed furniture corner (piercing arrow) to diffuse the harsh energy are some of Feng Shui’s cures. Sometimes, simply the sound of wind Chimes, strategically placed, can totally alter a room’s vibration. When we open to the way things feel, we can immediately tell the difference.

When I had a gallery many years ago in Ybor City, Florida, I knew I wanted the space Feng Shui’d. As a gallery-warming gift, a family member sent a Feng Shui consultant to the gallery. After evaluating the space for energy flow or good Chi, she suggested several cures to get the energy moving in the right direction.

In traditional Feng Shui, if a building was found to be facing in the wrong direction or a doorway was located in an inauspicious spot, the Feng Shui Master would instruct the homeowner to tear the house down and start all over again. He listened to the Master and did this or he would never get rid of his bad luck.

The Black Hat School of Feng Shui is responsible for a less drastic approach that has evolved over many, many years. In 1980, Professor Lin Yun of Berkeley, California introduced Black Hat Feng Shui to the West. An evolving system of Tibetan, Eastern Indian, and Chinese spiritual methods along with folk, cultural, and Shaman practices and remedies, Black Hat Feng Shui became practical as well as spiritual.

At the core of this system is “cures” or methods to fix the offending bad Chi – rather than tear the house down there were now other available options. These fixes or “cures” are Feng Shui in action, the heart of Feng Shui. A Feng Shui Master uses these cures to transform the energy from bad Chi to good Chi. Using LIGHT ( mirrors, crystals ), SOUND ( wind chimes, bells ), LIFEFORCE ( plants, fish tanks ), MOVING OBJECTS ( mobile, windmill, water fountain ), HEAVY OBJECTS ( statue, stones ), ELECTRICALLY POWERED OBJECTS ( TV, stereo ), COLOR, FRAGRANCE,TOUCH,BAMBOO FLUTES, and OTHER ( beaded curtain), the Feng Shui Master changes the flow of Chi. He knows these cures are not just about using a mirror or a chime but a conscious choice to change the energy.

Since each cure is designed for a specific purpose, the energy requirements for each space differ. For example, a bedroom would not have the same energy needs as a gallery and one art gallery would be different than another.

My art gallery was narrow rather than wide, the door was off to the side rather than directly in front, there were oblong jewelry counters, square pedestals, and large heavy pieces of sculpture. The front part of the gallery went up three floors in the front when you first walked in and half way back, the ceiling dropped to ten feet. There needed to be space for an office but to close it in would have cut the space in half.

Without giving away any Feng Shui cures ( keeping the secret is part of the ritual ), the task at hand was to create a space that was warm, inviting, and encouraged people to move throughout the entire space unobstructed. An ideal movement is to meander effortlessly in a gently curving fashion – remember straight lines are rarely found in the natural world. When energy moves in this healthy way, people feel relaxed and invest time in exploring a new environment. This seems like a simple enough concept yet how many times have we walked into a space only to turn around and leave a second later? It simply doesn’t feel good! I have learned (over many years!) that business is not just about stuff for sale but the way a person feels when they walk into your space. I heard over and over again, “It really feels good in this gallery” from people who have never heard of Feng Shui.

And that, once again, is because Chi is in us all and without intellectually knowing anything about Feng Shui we can feel when a place is inviting, warm, and harmonious. It is a place we like to go: it makes us feel good about ourselves.

Whether for home or business, Feng Shui creates good Chi that is appropriate to that environment. People who love and work in such an environment feel more energetic, creative, loving and balanced; as a result, they increase their potential for social and financial success as well as personal harmony.