Title: Practical Feng Shui – Debunking myths and finding out what we can actually learn from ancients
Author: Joey Lewitin
Copyright Joey Lewitin 2005 This article is free to reprint if there are no major alterations made to its content, and if resource box appears at bottom of page with a clickable link in it.
Practical Feng Shui – Debunking myths and finding out what we can actually learn from ancients
Most of information that is available concerning Feng Shui is highly over-simplified. It often comes in form of out-of-context eastern principals, mixed in with basic interior design horse sense from west, to form a hybrid which many professional Feng Shui analysts agree can be as harmful as it is helpful. Feng Shui is more than just choosing certain colors, or “getting rid of clutter”, as many books and articles will have you believe. It is actually an extremely complex system of mathematical formulas that give highly specific advice based on type of home, its layout, and its time of construction. There are no simple answers in Feng Shui, however there is something we can learn from methods ancients used to derive these principals.
Real Feng Shui is a system that has been evolving over thousands of years. The concept behind this design form is idea that energy or “chi” flows through everything. Feng Shui is an attempt to maximize flow of positive chi through a space to benefit lives of people within that setting. Feng Shui is originally based on I Ching, an ancient Chinese text of mystical origins. Over years successive schools of thought have come to dominate this decorative philosophy. As each new movement came to power, they refined formulas and functions of previous schools. In this ongoing process of refinement, every possible arrangement of objects was tested against numerous people’s emotional and spiritual reaction to them over thousands of years. These reactions allowed ancients to slowly improve their diagrams for placement of objects.
This ancient mathematical formula for laying out design of a setting does seem to be a sound method for improving quality of a room’s décor. While this may be due to ancients having determined way chi flows, their real accomplishment might instead have been to develop a systemized mathematical representation of a wide scale, long term psychological study. While trying to determine flow of energy, they may have instead determined basic principals of design that elicit positive responses in humans, by experimentally testing and recording peoples reactions to different object settings.
Real Feng Shui is extraordinarily specific, and complex. The only way to do real Feng Shui is either to become a student of this art, and painstakingly learn many principals and subtleties it requires, or to hire a professional to do an analysis and work over of your home. Either way, use of this design style requires a large sacrifice, and is outside realm of most people’s time and money budget.
However, Feng Shui does teach us something that is very useful when decorating your home. The ancient thinkers who developed this idea derived it by simply paying attention to feeling of objects in different spaces. This is a process that every person has it within their power to do. Everyone has taste, everyone has feelings. By simply getting in touch with your inner critic, you can become source for your own personal Feng Shui. No matter how specific they were, a Philosopher from a thousand years ago is not going to understand spiritual and emotional nuances of you, your family, and your home as well as you do. By using strategy rather than formula of Feng Shui, you can develop a highly personalized design that is a true expression of yourself.
Walk into a room, and see how it makes you feel. Notice colors, objects, and their placement. What do they evoke in you? Is room comfortable? Is it calming or invigorating? Maybe there is something wrong in room, even if you can’t tell exactly what it is, register that feeling. If you are attentive, you will start to get sensitive to psychological influences that placement and design have on your own mind.
Color Colors have very strong and individual effects on people. Different shades will have radically different results on people’s mental behavior. Dark colors can either be relaxing or depressing, light colors can be uplifting or annoying, and extreme colors can be exhilarating or aggravating. Pay attention to how these colors make you feel. When you visit other peoples homes, or even their shops or offices, pay attention to effect that walking into a room has on you. Sometimes you will enter a space and feel naturally relaxed. Other places can have a negative effect, making you feel uncomfortable or agitated for no apparent reason. Remember colors and shades of these rooms, especially if you have a particularly strong response to one.