The fundamentals of feng shui
Traditional approaches, just right for today
Feng shui is a teaching that originated in China over 5000 years ago and explores how nature and environment influence people and their behaviour. The practice of feng shui is based on the traditional Chinese understanding of the universe, according to which all things of this world can be assigned to the fundamental Five Elements (fire, metal, earth, wood and water), can be charged with positive or negative energy and are essentially interconnected. This energy is known as chi The Five Elements thus form one of the pillars of feng shui work. Each element can bear either yin or yang attributes. The literal meaning of feng shui is “wind and water”. This refers to the effect, orientation and interactions of these powerful forces of nature: both elements can grant life – or take it. Feng shui is an effective concept for deliberately structuring our lives. Its effect on living and working spaces, and thus on the people within them, can be compared to acupuncture. Feng shui is a science that aims to achieve the perfect balance of the Five Elements and the yin and yang energies. Those who choose to undertake this journey become empowered to lead a fulfilling life in harmony. Living in harmony means health, well-being, career success, personal happiness and spiritual growth. Thus, we aim to strengthen the positive energies that nourish us, compensate negative energies and attain the perfect equilibrium between the Five Elements.
Qi – the energy of life
Qi is like a little child – it goes where it chooses. Qi, the energy within us, is a key aspect of feng shui. Qi should be free to flow uninterrupted in every room, so as to fill each corner with energy. When obstacles obstruct this flow, this can impair both our well-being and our performance. Nature follows its own law: it fills up vacant rooms. It is thus up to each of us to create space for the things we wish to happen to us in this life.
The forces of yin and yang bind to create the energy of life. They work together and in opposition, and the result of their never-ending, dynamic interaction is always the whole. When the force of the yang waxes, that of the yin wanes; when the yin expands, the force of the yang contracts, waiting for the moment it can once again grow. Thus, both we ourselves and the world around us are caught up in a process of perpetual change. This evolutionary process can proceed harmoniously, negatively, positively or neutrally. Often, it is the small changes that establish harmony and restore the balance in your spaces. Yin and yang are the foundation of feng shui. The more closely the two are in balance, the greater the energy and harmony that flow from them.
The cycle of the Five Elements
The concept of the Five Elements arose out of the observation of nature and its laws. It represents the five phases used to describe energy states through which all life proceeds. Life and nature are subject to constant change: one season merges into the next, a seed in the earth grows into a plant, which in turn withers and returns to earth. The elements wood, fire, earth, metal and water find their embodiment in the four seasons and the eight cardinal points of the compass, as well as in forms, colours and materials. The primary aim in applying the principle of the Five Elements is to attain a dynamic balance of the various energies. The five energy forms are examined in the rooms and then harmonised with one another. All elements should be present in the greatest possible equilibrium. The preponderance of any one element leads to a perturbation in another, thus degrading the situation as a whole. As a key assumption of feng shui is that people are always in a state of interaction with their surroundings, an imbalance in the surroundings can also impact an individual’s own strength and well-being.