I have been interested in feng shui for years, but I struggle with it because it is vast, varied, and feels full of contradictions.
To start, there are two schools of feng shui. Classic feng shui, like its Indian cousin vastu shastra, requires fidelity to compass readings, while Western feng shui allows you to apply the bagua to any home the same way, no matter the direction it faces. Comparing the two schools with each other, or with vastu shastra, can leave you confused and feeling like it is all very hokey.
On top of this, Wikipedia describes feng shui as “Chinese geomancy” and as a “pseudoscience.” Geomancy means divination. I believe feng shui probably did start out as a form of divination, and I certainly agree with the word pseudoscience due to all of the inconsistencies.
So why can’t I dismiss it? Because I have dabbled with it enough to know that there are some principles of feng shui that speak truth. I also believe that subtle energy may become more measurable someday. I take this from Douglas Johnson, of Mahapatha Yoga. He often talks about how science simply hasn’t caught up to subtle energy, and as research in the quantum field becomes more sophisticated, scientists may learn how to measure this energy and how it is affected by our actions. Then ancient practices like yoga, acupuncture, Chinese medicine, and feng shui may come into their own from an empirical perspective.
In the meantime, on to the five things I feel are certain about feng shui.
1. Chi exists, and it moves. It’s best when it can move freely. Clutter and ill-placed objects block the flow of chi. How do I know? I can feel it. It’s the same principle in yoga. When you open lines of energy in your body, you feel better. When you clean out a closet or rearrange a room, everyone can feel the difference, whether they realize they are attuned to subtle energy or not.
2. Rearranging can at first lead to “stirring up” of the mental and emotional body. We are re-doing my son’s room and I moved a wooden dresser out of there and into my closet for storage. This introduction of a large piece of wooden furniture into my closet (what I have deemed as the Children/Creativity section of the house) was shortly followed by a little strife related to the tension of wood (stable yet sometimes oppressive) and metal (creativity and mental activity). I have since mitigated this effect by adding metal to “chop” the wood, and all has been well. I like the dresser in my closet.
3. If you want to change your life, move 27 things around in your house. This is a Chinese proverb, and if you don’t believe it, try it! Be intentional! You have been warned…
4. The elements are legit. Wood, Fire, Metal, Earth and Water have their own characteristics and interactions with each other. Balance is important. Look outside, and you will see that Mother Nature offers us balance through the trees (wood), sun (fire), rocks (metal), ground (earth), and water.
5. Live with what you love. This was the advice I received from my first (and only, so far) feng shui consultation. Marie Kondo has made a fortune by helping people to clear clutter, and keep in their space only things that bring joy into their life. She is helping people with this basic principle of feng shui, without calling it feng shui.
I have learned to use feng shui as a guide, and try not to be too analytical about it. I once read somehwere that thinking too much about feng shui is not good feng shui for the mind, and I totally agree! Would love to hear your about your experiences when changing your space made a change in your life!