What’s Feng Shui Anyway?


Although any student of Feng Shui can memorize and paraphrase ancient traditions and rules, such teaching runs the risk of becoming as the Haftorah in Jewish religious practice…that is, a set of readings now used in ritual which have little to do with the current situation but rather pertains to problems and their solutions set down long ago under (vastly) different circumstances.

Each one of us, therefore, has to determine our own need for orthodoxy versus intuition and pragmatism when it comes to understanding how our life is affected by the placement of structures, objects and the flow of energy around us. The contemporary study of Feng Shui can range from the recitation and duplication of ancient rules, to a flexible and creative adaption of “energetic alchemy,” a mixture of forces that create product, set process in motion and facilitate change.

There are those, just as in different sects of contemporary religion, who would have difficulty with an “eclectic” point of view and state that only “pure” adherence to history will make a difference as far as “cures” or “interventions” are concerned. However, these very same voices will admit that it is the ingredient of “belief” which adds the power to the actions we take in the practice of Feng Shui adjustments. Coupled with specific prayer and chant, the intensity of an intervention is activated or magnified.

On the other end of the continuum are practitioners who believe that Feng Shui must operate within the existing belief system of the receiver, or client, and the substitution of the “Jesus prayer” is acceptable if the “Nine True Words” are too foreign or don’t mean enough to the quester. Working toward meaningful life design, it seems that the staying power of interventions are directly correlated with the feelings of relatedness and relevance to one’s life.

In sum, there is no one right way to practice Feng Shui. Just as some artists might illustrate reality as accurately as a photograph, others find beauty in their version of reality as impressionism. Each of us finds usefulness in different aspects of a great body of knowledge, the more personal aesthetic. For some, the simple act of removing clutter is an undeniable method of increasing the beneficial flow of energy in homes and bodies. Others are drawn to “layering” ideas intrigued with possibilities offered by the template “bagua,” the mystical/practical method for mapping space (rooms, houses, sites) for the purpose of intervening within the different power areas Correspondent to all facets of life.

I believe strongly that quality of life is a cooperative venture between the cards we’re dealt and our skillfulness at playing them. Skills can be learned, and when practiced can lead to a sense of accomplishment. Well-being and serenity can be embraced once one fully acknowledges the “dance” of life as an interplay of leading with intention while being responsive to circumstances. The dance of life becomes as elaborate and intriguing or as mundane and boring as each of us is willing to imagine. It is the joyous enhancement of the life we’ve been given that attracts me to practicing this art of Feng Shui.