This article first appeared in mindbodygreen.com and is written by Jayme Barrett
Feng shui is a powerful method of experiencing more balance, joy and inspiration in your life. The ancient Chinese art and science of feng shui gives you the tools to create balance and harmony in your surroundings, which helps you to move forward with ease and inspiration. One of the basic tenets of feng shui is that you are influenced by everything in your outer environment. So, if you arrange your environment in a way that properly circulates life-force energy, you will flourish.
Feng shui is the ancient Chinese art of placement. The basic principle is that life-force energy, known in China as “chi”, flows through your dwellings and has a powerful effect on the way you feel and think. The surrounding landscape as well as the objects, layout and emotions in your environment affect this flow of energy. When your space is filled with positive energy and symbols, you feel happy and motivated. To simplify, your goal is to maximize the positive energy and minimize the negative. Some people are fearful that their home cannot be remedied, but fortunately 95% of the problems have viable and inexpensive solutions. Feng shui gives you a variety of techniques to increase, moderate and circulate energy, which ultimately creates harmony and peace.
The words feng shui mean “wind” and “water”, which are the two most essential forms of natural energy on earth. Without air and water, we perish. When both wind and water are balanced and flowing, nature is in harmony. A “state of grace” exists. The word natural, as opposed to artificial, means “genuine, having its own rhythm, in harmony with itself and everything around it.” We began our existence close to nature and must bring its healing properties into our bodies and surroundings in order to thrive.
In ancient China, feng shui was first used to locate the most auspicious sites to bury ancestors and to find the most favorable places to build palaces, monuments and government buildings. The Chinese focused on the invisible influences of energy because they felt their lives were closely linked to their environment. They identified ways in which the natural energy around them behaved and how it affected them. They experimented and found that there were favorable locations to build homes where health and luck was on their side. The Chinese concluded that if a person shifted and balanced the energy in their surroundings, it would lead to a vital, prosperous and harmonious life.
Many different schools of feng shui are practiced around the world. There is a strong crossover in the basic principles, one of which is the concept of Yin and Yang. Yin energy is feminine, receptive, slow and soft while Yang energy is masculine, active, fast and hard. The idea is to reach balance by creating an equilibrium of Yin and Yang in your environment. The two main schools are the Compass School and the Form School, which differ in their approach and implementation.
The Compass school is very scientific, using complex mathematical calculations, your birth date, numerology and a luo pan (or Chinese compass) to determine your best directions for living. The Form school emphasizes the importance of the surrounding land, streets, buildings and waterways as they relate to your home. In addition, it focuses on the arrangement of specific objects in your space to increase life force energy. The results and practices stemming from the Form school have been tangible and much easier to integrate into a Western way of life. These techniques with a holistic approach create a very practical, easy-to-implement and modern way to bring feng shui into every aspect of life.
Jayme Barrett is a feng shui expert in Los Angeles, speaker and best-selling author of Feng Shui Your Life.