Feng shui's got a major PR problem. For some people, feng shui’s absolutely a good thing. For some, it’s absolutely bad. And for a lot of people, they may have no idea what feng shui actually is, it just sounds cool.
As a person who integrates feng shui into my design work, I believe it’s my duty to clear up some of the misconceptions surrounding the field. Feng shui, like anything else in life, is neither an entirely good phenomenon nor an entirely bad phenomenon. It just is. And the more we try to understand it, the better we can be at forming a relationship with it that's sensible and healthy.
I’m listing a few FAQs that I think will help clear up some confusion about feng shui. I’ll continue to expand on this subject in the future, I’m sure!
- What is feng shui?
Feng shui is the art and science of environment, which influences the life and survival conditions of people.
- Do I have to be Chinese to understand feng shui?
No. Feng shui is misunderstood by many people, including Chinese people! Though some people practice it this way, feng shui does not have to be wizardry; it is not just a collection of old Chinese wives’ tales, superstitions about the good and evil in the universe, and crooked logic-based decoration shenanigans. Feng shui is much, much more than that. I’m happy to discuss a more nuanced view on feng shui, its origin, its dissemination, and its contemporary practice with anyone who’s interested.
- What are the major factors that affect our environment or the "feng shui" of a place?
Temperature, humidity, air pressure, air streams, general climate, topography (mountains, rivers, land, etc.), location of a space, direction of a space, surrounding community, roadways, function (work and/or residence), decor and design, sense of sight, sense of sound, sense of smell, sense of touch, feelings, impressions, air convection, air quality, gravitation of the sun and galaxies, the moon, the Earth, the Big Dipper, and the change in magnetic fields with the time/space movement of planets, just to name a few!
- Do I have to be superstitious to be into feng shui?
No, absolutely not. I don’t consider myself to be a particularly “superstitious” person either. Feng shui is oftentimes treated in a superstitious manner because the people who practice it are themselves imbuing feng shui with superstition. Feng shui is just as much rooted in actual social and physical sciences, like environmental psychology, as it could be in anything else. If you’re a really science or logic-driven person, you can still have your own feng shui perspective that is valid, valuable, and applicable to your work or living space.
- Do I have to be religious to be into feng shui?
No. It doesn’t matter if you’re “religious” or not to practice feng shui. Anybody of any background can take an interest in feng shui and practice it. Since some people who are interested in feng shui use the visible elements of mirrors, wind chimes, amulets, and other apotropaic symbols, feng shui is commonly regarded as too simplistic to be a form of natural science. Feng shui may even be affiliated with religion; however, I emphasize that feng shui is a knowledge system largely independent of religious considerations.
- Why does feng shui matter?
More than anything, I believe that the field of feng shui teaches us to be deeply cognizant of the environmental factors that influence us as human beings on both a subconscious and conscious level. If we understand the things that influence us either positively or negatively, we can do a better job of understanding how to control these influences and/or how to better respond to them.
If you’re interested in learning how to identify environmental influences in your life, mitigate them, and better respond to them, please join me in a class or a private consultation. I’m happy to help you in your design adventure and your grander life journey.