There are some strange programs on summer TV and one that seems to land on our screen these days is about Jade mining. (They can make a reality show out of almost anything but that’s for another blog). Anyway, at some point in the show they started talking about Feng Shui and a puzzled, albeit bewildered, look crossed the face of my favourite engineer. “What is that he said?”
I’m afraid my explanation lacked because he didn’t really understand. Explaining such an abstact concept to someone who lives in the concrete world of wheels and cogs is not always easy although the basic idea of rythym and harmony of space should not be foreign to those who want machines to run well.
Here I will try to find some simple ways to explain this concept.
I found a couple of good sites which basically explain Feng Shui (pronounced Fung Shway) is about balance and flow which is harmonious. Feng Shui is most often used in reference to environments or rooms of a house or office and the science of it in modern times is applied to decorating. The two words mean wind and water. For me the simplest explanation might be that if either wind or water entered the environment and moved in a way which would cause havoc then that environment does not have Feng Shui. A foot stool, for example, is a wonderful thing to have by a chair but it the positioning of it causes people to fall when they come in the room, the room lacks balance. Another example might be the room that has all the furniture on one side. While you know the room won’t tip over there is something in our sense of balance that makes us feel like leaning to the other side to compensate.
Some of the articles I ran across suggest there are many earth elements involved in the practice of Feng Shui: air, water, fire, metal, and earth and that for the most complete balance all of the elements need to be present. Hence the otherwise stark office space with an orchid and a little water fountain.
Like so many things the art or science of Feng Shui has been capitalized on in our society and in that capitalization perhaps a little perverted. Case in point is the man who got unlucky jade miners to believe he could change their luck by placing a rock in a certain place on an open field. I do believe they were duped but perhaps not as much as those of us who were watching the show and falling for the nonsense.
Some of the capitalization of Feng Shui I have given room to are the addition of flowing plants to my bedroom and the little zen garden that sits near my desk. A little venture into the “Google” and “Ask” communities of the internet will uncover a whole host of things you can purchase to improve your Feng Shui. Somehow I think that is actually in direct conflict with the whole notion because Feng Shui in its purer form seems to be about simplifying life not collecting trinkets and clutter.
In my brief foray into the world of Feng Shui the best article I found was “Understanding the Principles of Feng Shui”. Others which may help in the understanding of the practice in the home are “An 8 Point Guide to a Feng Shui House and Feng Shui 101. The last two are getting a little more complicated but like anything else take from them what works for you and leave the rest. I know if I tried to revolutionize our home with Feng Shui it likely wouldn’t work well for that engineer I was telling you about but even little things can make a big difference to how you feel in your home and workplace.