A Brief Introduction to Feng Shui

Keiya Caldwell

There is an old Chinese proverb that says,

“If you want change in your life, move 27 things.”

Every single living thing is alive and endowed with living energy known as ‘chi’. Feng Shui (pronounced fung sway) is the art of arranging those living energy things to benefit all. Feng Shui is thought to have originated in India and traveled to China and Tibet over four thousand years ago. There were three distinct lineages known as the Black, Red and Yellow hat sect schools. Although the schools varied greatly in their teachings and understandings, their objective has always been the same-to assist individuals in creating environments that support and nurture their needs, desires, and overall well being.

The overall well being, they believed, depended on an invisible energy force called ‘chi’. While not seen, the results of whether the chi flowed well or had become stagnant were very visible. They believed chi was the powerful life force that existed within all things and that chi was the single most important factor that influences our lives for better or worse. Our bodies also possessed chi and how the chi was flowing would determine if we were experiencing good health and subsequently good fortune, or if life had become difficult, health was poor, and money was not flowing.

The initial source of chi energy is generated from the universe. The sun, the moon, the planets and all other celestial bodies radiate energy that filters down through the stratosphere to our planet. It divides itself among the various countries, states, cities and neighborhoods. It arrives at our homes and workplaces, making its way into our rooms, circulating around furniture and objects and impacting on each occupant that resides there. This then impacts on the chi that resides in our bodies. The chi then draws to it, like a magnet, like situations that reflect the same type of energy patterns. This then affects our communities, our country and our universe. Human chi, as it manifests and extends outward, has direct impact on the world and all things in it.

The strength, quality and balance of the chi that exists within us is the most important factor that determines the quality of our life and the opportunities we draw to us. So, Feng Shui is all about flow of universal energies. What you will experience when you are in harmony with nature is that all things that once appeared out of reach become more accessible. Relationships and creativity flourish, health stabilizes, opportunities manifest, business, careers and finances thrive.

So it’s all about flow. Now we need to ask ourselves, what parts of our life are flowing well and what parts need some help?

In Feng Shui your life aspects are divided into nine parts often expressed as an eight-sided shape called a ‘Bagua’ (pronounced Bagh Wah) or they can be viewed as a square divided into nine equal parts. These are the aspects of our life, and the GUA or square they are in tells us where in our house these aspects pertain to.

  1. Der Reise, relates to your career, starting energies, the flow or tao of your life. This relates to your place on the river of life. Do you feel safe inside the boat? Are you flowing with or against the current, crashing into the shore, stuck on a sandbar, or gliding effortlessly to your destination?
  2. Relationships with friends, colleagues, your spouse. Do you have an active social life? Are you blissfully in love or desperately seeking? The meaning of this area is receptivity and has to do with all partnerships and close relationships.
  3. - health and family, your ancestors, the shoulders you stand on. Your own personal health and the honoring of those that gave you life and helped you on your journey. This could include mentors, teachers, as well as parents and grandparents. It is elders as people you respect not necessarily to do with age only. This GUA also pertains to the past.
  4. - wealth corner, fortunate blessings. This area generates blessings from the material world. It is about the perception that we have been truly blessed in our life. To have felt grace and want to show compassion, kindness and to give back to others.
  5. The Centre, like the gravitational midpoint of our body, ‘the hara’, the point at which everything meets and is dispersed. The centre point of your home, an intangible place perhaps, the sum of all the parts, a place free of clutter, a water fountain or an altar. It relates to balance in your life.
  6. The essence of this GUA is service. Our acts of unconditional service to others, selfless acts of friends and angels in our life. The ability to accept and receive support as well as give support to others. It is also the area of travel, seeing other parts of the world and what our travels have brought to us.
  7. This is the area of creativity, children, our future. This is joy, creativity, imagination, youthfulness. This is creating and developing the plans for our life.
  8. This area of our life is called knowledge and is concerned with all forms of learning, inner knowing, contemplation, meditation and experiencing of life, which ultimately leads to wisdom-Sophia. As I am writing this, I am realizing how difficult it has been for me to meditate since we moved into our new condo. The place in the house where this GUA is, is in my partner’s bathroom, which I never use. Also, I feel it is not mine to use. It has become a missing part of the GUA for me. I very much need to make an adjustment for this, and I will.
  9. Illumination, enlightenment, fame, your reputation in the world, teaching and mentoring others. This is perspective at the end of a cycle. This is the higher view, the spirit or light that shines within us, shining out to the world.

This is just a brief explanation of the aspects of life. How comfortable you are with each of these parts of your life will depend on what areas of your home or office you want to change. The challenge and the joy now is to balance the pathways of chi in your home or workplace so you may achieve happiness, grace, prosperity, good health and wonderful relationships.

If everything is already flowing well in your life then changing things in your environment is not necessary. When there are certain aspects of your life you want to change, look to those areas in your home or workplace.

Feng Shui today is practiced with a blend of wisdom, knowledge and intuition. There are many books available in local libraries and bookstores to help you understand the Bagua and where these areas are located in your home. ‘Cures’ can be as simple as clearing out clutter, shifting a desk to the opposite corner of a room, adding a second pillow to your bed, hanging a small cut glass crystal, etc. A joyful memory attached to the simplest object can empower that object with vital chi that feeds you every time you look at it and greatly empowers that area of your life. It is fun and easy and results are quick and very amazing.

Apply Feng Shui principles wherever you are-hotel rooms, rental apartments, etc. Enhance the chi even in the most temporary of locations like where you are holding a workshop or seminar.

Change is constant. You change, so your environment needs to be changed. Often after an uplifting experience, you have undergone a wonderful change, only to come back to your old environment and be pulled back into old patterns again. Let your environment change. Don’t be afraid to let things go. Grow, move, dance and have fun doing it.

Suggested Reading:

I have found these books to be helpful and easy to understand…

Master Cam Kam Chuen, Feng Shui Handbook
Terah Kathryn Collins, Western Guide to Feng Shui
Nancy Santro Pietro, Feng Shui: Harmony by Design

May your home and workplace become a personal empowering paradise.

Keiya Caldwell is a graduate of the International Institute for Transformation which helps people to live and work with meaning and purpose.