Mention feng shui and the first thing most people think of is the concept of putting a statue in a specific corner to gather money, or painting the walls white to negate bad luck. This is known as object placement and is not what feng shui is about — at all. After all, feng shui means “wind” and “water”, and is used to describe the flow of qi (cosmic energies).
In the past, objects were used to draw people to a room where they could then tap into the qi at that particular location. In the end, it had nothing to do with the object and everything to do with the location. Though many placement feng shui artifacts are believed to attract luck, wealth or health, these beliefs have nothing to do with the practice of feng shui and are related more to Chinese culture and superstitions.
Qi is a natural phenomenon of the living environment; it is rarely ‘generated’ by man-made objects such as decorative items and designs
What feng shui is really about is assessing the flow of qi in and around a property and determining how it affects the residents. It is about harnessing the qi from the external environment as it flows into the home to benefit the residents as they work on their life endeavours. Qi itself cannot provide instant wealth or a health miracle, which is why placing an object in a specific location is not going to do anything. Instead, it is about tapping into the flow of positive energies and in this manner improve one’s outlook, perception and mental acuity in order to recognise opportunities, take chances and make confident decisions that in turn lead to better wealth, health or happiness. Putting a fake gold ingot (元宝) somewhere to attract wealth sounds great at first, but nothing is that simple. Feng shui requires proper analysis and effort.
Feng shui is a metaphysical science where one learns to recognise and tap into the qi of the living environment to help one’s endeavours in life. Not only do we want to harness the qi, but we also want to use it to help specific goals in our everyday lives. Qi is a natural phenomenon of the living environment; it is rarely “generated” by man-made objects such as decorative items and designs.
When it comes down to it, what really matters in feng shui is not what is inside but what is outside your home. External environmental factors are landforms (Luan Tou) such as mountain ranges, and rivers and bodies of water that govern the main qi of the area.
Finding a good environment should always be a first step towards ensuring your property has good feng shui. There are two types of qi: Sha Qi (煞氣) and Sheng Qi (生氣). Sheng Qi is good, and the objective of practising landform feng shui is to collect and distribute environmental Sheng Qi throughout the property. Sha Qi, on the other hand, should be avoided for its negative, stagnant energies.
The most important landforms in feng shui are mountains and rivers. Mountains are often referred to in ancient feng shui texts as “dragons”. They are a yin environmental feature and, being female, “give birth” to qi. Water is the mountain’s yang counterpart and serves to collect the qi generated by the mountain. Evaluating the feng shui of a property involves looking at these landforms, or the equivalent of these landforms (roads represent rivers, large building complexes represent mountains) to see how they affect the movement and collection of qi through the property. Minor negative features can be rectified through simple renovations or through the placement of a screen or water feature in the affected area. The main point of priority is the Main Door, since this is how qi enters and moves through a property. Once inside, the colour of the walls or the placement of the furniture have no effect. You may have to place objects such as a water feature or a brass chime in a specific location to collect or counter specific energies, but the influence exerted here is elemental rather than object-based.
When people objectify feng shui, they become ruled by the object that they believe encapsulates their good or bad luck, which encourages suspicion, paranoia and a closed mind. There is no perfect system that guarantees miracles with just the purchase and placement of an object. In landform feng shui, there is the realistic expectation that no location can be 100% perfect, and even so, the goal is to direct and tap into positive energies. Succeeding in life means seizing opportunities and making wise decisions. Feng shui can give you the positive mindset for doing this, but as for the actual opportunity of grabbing and decision making that will lead you to wealth, health and happiness, you have to do that yourself.
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