What Is Feng Shui?
For many people who have studied visualization and other methods of manifesting changes in their lives, Feng Shui and Space Clearing open up huge exciting new vistas. When you "put your house in order," it is like discovering a whole army of helpers you never realized were at your disposal.
The information in this book will take you on a journey of self-discovery by teaching you how to read the symbolism and energy of your home and how to change it for the better. By adjusting and balancing the flow of energy within your home, you can powerfully and effectively influence the course of your life.Your home
Think for a moment about your home. If you are reading this book at home, pause for a moment to look around you. How would you describe it? Is it elegant, untidy, welcoming, makeshift, grandiose, stark, functional...?
Whatever your description, realize that what you are looking at is the outer manifestation of your inner self. Everything in your outer life--especially your home environment--mirrors your inner self. Conversely, everything in your home has an effect on you, from the smallest object to the largest design structure.
Most people are not even conscious of the huge effect their home and work environments has on them. They usually think of buildings as being something in the background, not realizing that they can help or hinder their progress substantially. They respond unconsciously without even knowing they are being affected.
A good Feng Shui practitioner can tell as much about you from reading your home as, say, an astrologer can tell from looking at your birthchart, a palmist can tell from reading your palm, or a graphologist can interpret from your handwriting. It is all there in your home to be seen and felt. It couldn't not
be there, because it all came from you in the first place. On some level, consciously or unconsciously, you have chosen where you live, chosen everything in it, and positioned items wherever they are. It all has a significance and an effect. Your home is the living portrayal of everything you are and what is happening in your life.Everything is alive
Understanding Feng Shui and Space Clearing begins with the awareness that each particle of creation is alive and filled with life force energy, filled with spirit and intelligence. Our homes are alive. The chairs we sit on are alive. The rings we wear on our fingers are alive. Their consciousness is different from ours, but they are conscious, and if you know how to listen, all things can speak to us and reveal their secrets.
All my life I have had a sense of the livingness of things. The idea is not new, of course. Animism is an integral part of most so-called "primitive" cultures in the world that still have their connection to universal consciousness. In Bali, animism blends with Balinese Hinduism to form the basis of their religious practices. All families own at least one sacred object, which is believed to have mystical powers.
This beautiful planet on which we live is not a dead lump of rock hurtling through space, destination unknown. It and everything on it is pulsating with energies. The Chinese call it chi
, the Japanese call it ki
, to the Hindus of India it is prana
, to the Polynesians it is mana
, and every other spiritual culture has its own name for it. We call it "spirit," "life force," or simply "energy."
One way that this can be seen is in the many different languages and cultural customs in the world, which arise in response to the different energies emanating from the earth. In some places you can journey just a few miles down the road and the local dialect changes completely, because the energy of the land is completely different.
Pure energy is all around us even though we may not see it until it affects something physical in our vicinity. Light cannot be seen until it illuminates something. Electricity cannot be seen, but we take it for granted every day when we turn on a light switch. Kirlian photography offers proof to the clinical Western mind of the energy fields emanating from all things. I once saw a Kirlian photograph of a slice of processed white bread alongside a slice of organic brown whole-grain bread. Around the white bread there was a flimsy excuse of an energy field, whereas the brown bread's emanation was strong, vital, and many times bigger. The difference was so startling that I have hardly ever eaten white bread since! Processed food loses so much of its vitality.
At its essence, Feng Shui is about living consciously on Mother Earth and enjoying the highest quality of life force possible for the human. It is the art of balancing, harmonizing, and enhancing the flow of natural energies, and since all things are permeated by these energies, this ancient art really can be applied in one way or another to everything we do.Feng Shui in the East
The name Feng Shui
originates in China and translates as "wind and water." I use this term rather than any other because it has become the best-known name for this art in the Western world, but each traditional culture has its own name for it in its own language.
Feng Shui was first used in ancient China about three thousand years ago to determine the most auspicious sites for the tombs of ancestors in order to give them the best vantage to help their living descendants. Later it was used to site palaces, important government buildings, and monuments, until finally whole cities were designed and built according to Feng Shui principles.
Hong Kong is one such case in point, and its incredible prosperity is often cited as a prime example of Feng Shui's effectiveness. An estimated 90 percent of all properties in Hong Kong are built according to Feng Shui principles. The famous case of the Bank of China in Hong Kong, which was reportedly sued by neighboring businesses because the sharp angles of its seventy-story building impeded on them, is an example of how seriously Feng Shui is taken in the East. There is no doubt at all that the architect of this bank knew exactly what he was doing and deliberately designed a structure that sends arrowlike "killing chi" energy at its competitors. The immediate recourse of the occupants of surrounding buildings was to erect Feng Shui mirrors to attempt to reflect the dangerous energy back to its source--and commence litigation. This is an example of Feng Shui being used to manipulate energies rather than working for the highest good of all. The law of karma will ultimately be the great leveler, since what you give out is what you get back.Feng Shui in the West
In the early 1990s Feng Shui started to become popular in the United States, and--as with most things--it then slowly spread to the rest of the Western world. Today Feng Shui has become one of the "buzz" words of the latter half of the 1990s, and London is the Feng Shui capital of the Western world, with more workshops and training programs than in any other country.
Many people, when they first discover Feng Shui, say that it explains so many things they always knew deep down inside but never knew they knew! Most successful business entrepreneurs actually practice some form of Feng Shui without knowing they do. Sir William Lyons, chairman of Jaguar Cars, would always look for what he called the "light line" when looking at a newly designed car. The ideal light line was a smooth reflection of light along the side of a car from the front to the back, which in Feng Shui terms would be a harmonious sweep of energy. He said the E-type Jaguar, the most popular and profitable car ever designed by Jaguar, had the best light line ever. The design of Anita Roddick's Body Shops, where walls of mirrors behind all the products symbolically double the profits, is another example of natural Feng Shui enhancement.Feng Shui and Space Clearing
Feng Shui comprises a vast body of knowledge, and to learn it in the East requires at least a thirty-year apprenticeship to a Feng Shui master. Most Western people have a very limited perception of this complex art, thinking it extends only as far as interior design and furniture placement, but this is merely one branch of Feng Shui. The art of cleansing and consecrating buildings (Space Clearing) is another important branch. Reading earth energies and choosing auspicious sites for buildings is another. A further branch deals with Feng Shui enhancements and cures. The study of Feng Shui also extends to orientation (a building's position in relation to the points of the compass or a significant topographical feature), directionology (the effects of moving in a particular compass direction), astrology, color, diet, medical diagnosis, and so on.
To become proficient in one branch of Feng Shui, even at today's enhanced speeds of learning, still requires several years of study and experience. However, there are some basic principles that can be taught relatively easily, and that is what I intend to do in this book. To begin with the study of Space Clearing makes this easier because it gives hands-on experience of how energy moves and affects us in our lives. Improving your quality of life
The whole premise of this book is that you want to learn how to have a happy, fulfilling, successful life. We are each of us spirit incarnate in a physical body on a physical planet, and one of our basic requirements is physical shelter. Playing "the shelter game" is part of the art of living in harmony with the physical universe, so even if you do not consider yourself to be a "spiritual" person, you may as well learn how to do it and get good at it if you are planning to be alive for any length of time at all! These are, in effect, some of the ground rules (pun intended) for living on Planet Earth.
The center of a Western home used to be the hearth fire or maybe the kitchen table--a meeting point for shared activities. Nowadays it is usually the television. If you doubt me, just see how the armchairs are all arranged in most living rooms. They are all angled toward the box in the corner. This has brought about a lessening in communication and community activities. It accentuates the feelings of separation that many people feel.
Many of us in the West have forgotten what life can be like. We feel separate and disconnected from the earth, disconnected from our environment, disconnected from each other, and disconnected from many of our basic sources of nourishment. There is so little sacredness in our lives.
When we are out of balance with our surroundings, we become physically, mentally, emotionally, and spiritually sick. We build buildings that make us sick and wonder why our lives seem to have no purpose. Now we are waking up to what Eastern cultures have known and practiced for centuries.
Feng Shui offers hope. It offers the means to reconnect and bring the sacredness back into our lives. In my travels around the world, I have consistently noticed that the East is looking to the West for what it does not have (materialism), and the West is looking to the East for what it does not have (spirituality). Feng Shui is a bridge between the two, which can be used by people from all nations, all religious backgrounds, and all walks of life.
Excerpted from Creating Sacred Space With Feng Shui by Karen Kingston. Copyright © 1997 by Karen Kingston. Excerpted by permission of Three Rivers Press, a division of Random House, Inc. All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.