Beginners feng shui guide

feng shui beginners
Ever walk into a strange place and instantly feel comfortable and at home? If so you are probably feeling the effects of feng shui, the Chinese art of balance in design and placement. Pronounced "fung shway", the phrase translates literally as "wind-water" and is an ancient philosophy that seeks to create balance between

artificially created environments and the natural elements, including water, wood, metal, fire and earth. By creating this balance, practitioners believe positive energy, or "ch'i" is enhanced and brought close, benefiting those surrounded by it. Followers believe this ch'i will bring prosperity, renewed vigor, and health, making feng shui one of the more popular trends to emerge in recent years.
More than a decorating strategy, feng shui can benefit homes, offices, businesses and even cars as the elements of the earth are brought together in such a way as to balance negative energy and cultivate ch'i. Using just the basics, an uncomfortable or impersonal home can be made warmer and more inviting. An unproductive office can suddenly generate creativity and innovation. And a car that seems to be a magnet for dents, fender benders and even tickets can suddenly be rid of its negative current, transforming into a safe and comfortable method of transportation.

Although the advanced principles of feng shui relate to the individual practicing it, and utilize such things as the person's birth date, birth order, wind direction near the area being studied, and the individual's sign under the Chinese zodiac, there are some basic ideas that apply to everyone and every situation.

The flow of water symbolizes life and vitality. Position water elements such as a koi pond or small waterfall so that the fall of the wall is toward the house. This will direct ch'i into the home, harmonizing the structure with nature. In an office environment, a small, desktop waterfall should face the occupant when seated at the desk. In any environment the use of a fish tank can enhance ch'i as fish are considered the universal symbol of abundance. Many corporate offices design large fish tanks into walls and conference rooms, utilizing the feng shui belief that such an element enhances wealth.

The number nine (or multiples of), symbolizes prosperity and vitality. Nine houseplants scattered throughout the home or office can absorb negative energy and enhance ch'i. Conversely, the number four is rarely used because the Chinese word for "four" sounds identical to the word for "death." Serving four people for dinner? Set an extra place for a potential visitor, neutralizing any potential negative energy.

Beds should never be placed with the foot directly facing the door. This is known in feng shui to be the "death position" and should be avoided. Desks should be placed so that the occupant can face the expanse of the room when seated, commanding and wielding power. Mirrors with rounded edges soften negative energy while reflecting positive ch'i. Sofas, chairs and tables made from natural materials are more comfortable than those with artificial fabrics and hard, straight lines. In love with the sleek, modern look of steel and glass? Not to worry. Modern furniture can be softened with soft, natural pillows or an earthy sculpture of stone or natural mineral. To enhance ch'i and promote well-being, a room should never be completely filled with artificial materials and man-made items. Even placing a bowl of live fruit on a table enhances ch'i.

A crystal ball or hanging crystal is said to promote creativity and healing. Place a crystal over a chronically messy area to improve order and structure to the area, while improving effectiveness by increasing the ch'i in the room. According to many practitioners, placing crystals in the kitchen improves the healing properties of the food prepared there and can prolong the freshness of fruits and vegetables.

According to feng shui believers, using any of the natural elements in a car will promote ch'i and reduce negative energy. Even the sound of running water, such as a natural sounds CD playing in the stereo can help. A small crystal hanging from the mirror can help restore balance between the driver and the vehicle, preventing some accidents. At the very least, recognizing that all things carry energy and that energy can be either positive or negative, can help drivers tune-in to the ch'i of the road, improving their driving skills.

Whether on the road or in the boardroom, feng shui provides insight into the natural balance between earth and environment. If you are searching for greater happiness, health, prosperity and vitality, practicing these basic principles of feng shui just may bring you greater positive energy, improving your relationship with the world around you.- Stephanie Tallman Smith
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