What is Feng Shui (and Why Should You Care?)

What feng shui is, and what it is not

There is as much enthusiasm about feng shui as there is confusion about it. The range of feng shui stereotypes is very wide — from easy tips on how to move your furniture and change your life to complex, contradicting calculations for your home and your life — it can all get really confusing. People turn to feng shui for all sorts of reasons — to find their life mate, to attract wealth, improve health or get the winning lottery ticket. Does all this confusion mean that feng shui is a new age fad with no power? I mean, if feng shui were a serious science and art, why there is so much confusion and contradiction about it?

Starting with the two baguas (why there are two baguas in feng shui and which one is better?) to very different answers you’ll get to the same question; I understand why feng shui is often equated to a new age distraction and something a serious person would not even look into. However, here is the thing — serious people do look into it, and they do get results. So what is feng shui and why is it so difficult to understand it? Well, for one, feng shui is a very, very old art and science. Its history goes back thousands of years. That is really old, which means really easy to misinterpret. Because feng shui is such an ancient body of knowledge, it has been fully “steeped” in cultural stereotypes. This makes it very important to distinguish between the culturally specific expressions of energy and the actual essence of any given form of energy.

For example, when I think of a lifelong love partnership, I can come up with many images, none of them being the Mandarin ducks (which is the traditional feng shui school cure, or symbol for love & marriage). I have no cultural or emotional connections to this image. However, for many Chinese people, the image of Mandarin ducks will genuinely speak of devoted love because there is strong cultural lore connected to it. Approaching feng shui in an intelligent way and with a good dose of healthy discrimination is the cornerstone of successful feng shui work. Feng shui is part of the complex Taoist body of knowledge that includes the field of traditional Chinese medicine (acupuncture, use of herbs, etc), energy work such as Qi Gong, Tai Chi; Chinese astrology and disciplines related to the I Ching, Tao Te Ching and other ancient Taoist works.

In itself, feng shui is composed of many schools. It started with the Landscape School (which studies the landforms and their influence on human health and well-being), then branched out into many different schools — the Flying Star (Xuan Kong), the Eight Mansions (East/West), the Four Pillars (Ba Zhi), and other schools.

Basically, various feng shui schools deal with either time or space dimensions (or both). The youngest feng shui school is the so-called Western school based on the BTB (Black Sect Tibetan Tantric Buddhism) school of feng shui brought to the USA in mid-eighties. The Western/BTB school has little to do with anything Western; it is a deeply esoteric and mysterious/powerful field of knowledge rooted in Tibetan Tantric Buddhism and Bon, the indigenous belief of ancient Tibet.

History aside, what is feng shui in a nutshell and why should you care? Let’s stay with this question for a bit. Feng shui is, first and foremost, energy work. The most accurate definition of feng shui is as acupuncture of the space. Feng shui opens up powerful energy channels in your home to help it get stronger, more harmonious and powerful. This distinct transformation, in turn, nourishes and strengthens your energy. Ancient feng shui masters knew what quantum physics is telling us today — that everything around us is composed of endless energy fields connecting everything you see, feel and touch (as well as billions of other things and phenomena we do not see, and cannot feel or touch). There is really no separation between you and everything that surrounds you, and this, of course, includes your home.

This means that if you want to stay healthy, happy, enjoy lasting love and success, your space has to support and nourish this energy. It has to be well suited for your personal energy, as well as the energy you want to attract and cultivate. Just like being in a company of a happy person makes your own energy happy, the same happens with your living (or working) space. If your space has good feng shui — healthy, uplifting, loving and nourishing — you will feel supported and happy. Everything will flow easier for you because this is the energy you are surrounded by and nourished. You can compare a good feng shui house to clothing that is wonderful in all aspects — beautiful, comfortable, made of exquisite natural materials, makes you feel really good.

By the same token, a bad feng shui house is like wearing ill-suited clothing day in, day out, imagine how this feels! It makes you feel restricted, unhappy, angry, and your energy becomes stagnant and blocked. The reason I use this example is because your home is often called the third skin in feng shui, with clothing being your second skin. Of course, it is much easier to see this dynamic in the example with clothing than to apply it in relation to your home.

A house can look stunning and still have bad feng shui; a house can also look quite modest and at the same time enjoy harmonious energy. I trust this is enough information to inspire you to have a really good look around your space and start listening to its messages. What was it telling you all along? Can you allow yourself to listen? Energy is speaking to you all the time, it has no boundaries, nationality, preferences or conditions. It is an extension of you. It just is. And you are the one who has the power to change it, mold it, transform it. Listen intently to your space because in many ways it is a very accurate reflection of your own energy. It will give you a very honest feedback, because energy doesn’t lie. Listen. Then use intelligent feng shui tools to take the right action.

rodika tchi

master feng shui consultant. published author. teacher. RodikaTchi.com

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