By Lurrae Lupone
FENG SHUI: HONORING SACREDNESS OF SPACE
Feng Shui is the 5,000 year old Chinese art of placement. Pronounced ‘Fung schway”, it literally means “wind and water. Feng Shui is derived from ancient observations of how wind and water energies circulate on earth and how people learned to place them in such a way as to benefit from those energies. The term Feng Shui is derived from this ancient poem, which describes the ideal site.
“ The wind is mild, the sun shines, the water is clear, the vegetation lush.”
Early man recognized and honored the interdependence and connectedness with the landscape, immediate environment, the earth, and heavenly forces, positioning of home had everything to do with safety, survival, and potential prosperity.
There are many schools of Feng Shui. Feng Shui evolved in the East out of the observations that one’s environment and that being in balance and oneness affected health, balance, and prosperity with nature contributed to good luck. Early Feng Shui was a product of Taoism, Buddhism, the Five Element theory, and Yin-Yang theory, a Taoist concept that unifies all opposites. The term used to describe this intuitive study of man’s connection to the earth is known as geomancy – “geo” means earth, “mancy” means the divination or messages from the earth. Early geomancers used a compass-like tool, or Lo Pan. The Lo Pan combines this knowledge, including attention to cardinal directions that would most benefit an individual.
An early mystical text of divination, I-Ching, The Book of Changes, is a system of 64 hexagrams that offered additional wisdom regarding man’s fate – the discovery that the laws of nature are also the laws of humanity and that since nature and humanity are one, harmony is the key to life.
Professor Lin Yun brought a new school of Feng Shui, known as Tibetan Tantric Buddhism Black Sect Feng Shui, to the West. It incorporates modern technologies and Western knowledge of medicine, psychology, architecture, ecology, and the social sciences. This school of Feng Shui evolved out of the journey of Buddhism from India through Tibet and into China. It absorbed the indigenous ancient teachings from these cultures, incorporating observations of tangible, observable environmental factors of the land, home site, and floor plan known as sying. In addition, this new school of Feng Shui incorporated “yi”: invisible, mystical and transcendental influences that give additional power and results to the individual. Yi is a blessing, a wish, or an intention that is a way of adjusting and enhancing the energy of the space. Another important component of Black Sect Feng Shui is following the ancient tradition of transmitting the mystical knowledge orally fro master to pupil.
Feng Shui is about living more harmoniously with earth and heavenly forces. It is about finding and creating in life the same principles that create the miracle of the balance in nature and in the universe. Thousands of ancient insights, known as the rules of good Feng Shui, are pillars of Chinese culture and may be used in setting up home and workspaces. =When people are in personal alignment with the flow of natural cosmological rhythms, connected to their environment, they can be transformed.
Homes and workspaces are sacred spaces that are meant to shelter, nourish, and support us. No less alive and vibrant that the physical body, spaces are alive with energy, known as ch’i, or the cosmic breath. Feng Shui helps people create a balance and harmony in their spaces by improving the flow of ch’i. Ch’i and ch’i cultivation are the heart of Feng Shui. We are familiar with the term ch’i through the study of acupuncture. Acupuncture uses needles to stimulate the chi flowing through the body along invisible lines known as meridians. Chi also exists in spaces, environments, towns, cities, and countries – everywhere in the cosmos. Rivers, roads, doors, windows, and hallways are purveyors of chi in our environments, just as circulatory and nervous systems bring nutrients and messages to organs and muscles in the physical body. As gardeners, people can create spaces planted with seeds of change and empowerment with proper Feng Shui placements just as needles stimulate and balance the body in acupuncture.
Feng Shui is becoming recognized as the art and science of healing spaces. Feng Shui principles teach ways to create a new sense of harmony and life balance through proper placement of objects and furnishings in home and workspace. The purpose is to create an environment that enables the chi to circulate and spiral freely. Moving a bed, changing the direction faced which sitting at a desk, creating a welcoming entrance, or adding mirrors, plants, color, or brighter lights are simple changes that can dramatically affect how one feels regarding one’s place in the universe. Feng Shui is a way to manifest sacred spaces that can empower by correcting imbalances in room or house design or to deflect ill fortune by using transcendental cures as suggested from the Tibetan Tantric Buddhism Black Sect School of Feng Shui.
Applying Feng Shui helps individuals align with their life’s purpose, opens the limitless possibilities of the universe, and helps create spaces as sacred and empowering gardens of chi. Spaces create a metaphor for who people are, how they respond to the world, and where they can manifest their goals and intentions. Living and working in spaces that delight and resonate with one’s essence can contribute to health, harmony, and sense of balance, thereby affecting one’s destiny.
Feng Shui helps us create our own sacred space by giving us a format for change and personal growth. The first part of Feng Shui begins with what I term, The Feng Shui Conversation, with one’s self or with a consultant. The conversation determines where one stands and wishes to travel with respect to nine energies or aspects of life. These nine life situation are derived the Bagua, an octagonal symbol containing the eight trigrams of the I-Ching and eight characteristic energies relating to nature, man, and relationships. In Tibetan Tantric Buddhism Black Sect Feng Shui, these energies are expressed as nine life situations: career, wisdom, health/family, prosperity, fame, relationships, creativity/children, helpful people/travel and mental health / total balance as exemplified by the T’ai chi symbol in the center of the Bagua. Understanding which of these areas of one’s life is balanced or out of balance is the place to begin.
Creating sacred space begins with clearing the energy of the space. Who lived there before – also known as the Predecessor Law – is an important question. Did they prosper? Did they experience difficulty there? Did they experience serious illness there? That energy may still be affecting you. Feng Shui uses transcendental clearings; but sage, sound, bells, clapping, spritzing with lemon water, sweeping, especially at the end of the year and throwing away the broom as is the Chinese custom, may be used.
Creating sacred space begins with cleaning the space. A meal always starts with a clean plate. The same applies to life. When spaces are kept clean and uncluttered, life will be orderly.
Creating sacred space begins with correcting for negative energy flow or cutting chi. Feng Shui consultants are trained to look at external factors on the property and landscape that may or not be contributing to a proper flow of ch’i. External factors include the chi of the land the shape of one’s property. Other external factors that may be considered are the road, bridges, trees, roof shape, churches, graveyards, telephone poles, transformers, electromagnetic fields, and others. Once inside the home or workspace, interior factors to evaluate include the shape of the home or building, floor plan, and structural elements such as exposed beams, pillars, or columns, doors, windows, and brightness. Position and placement of bed, desk stove and foyer are critical elements. How one positions oneself with respect to one’s personal environment is about creating a space where one is positioned in a place of empowerment and energetic balance. The cures and remedies used to balance a space are colors, light, sound, life force, moving objects, heavy objects, fragrance, your own imagination and artistry, and transcendental cures such as bamboo flutes and fans. Professor Lin Yun states that these transcendental cures and the ceremonies used to reinforce their influence can account for 110% of the power of Feng Shui.
Creating sacred space means creating new intentions. Moving objects or furnishing with intention may activate an energy that is out of balance, such as career or relationships when one understands where that “ ener-ch’i” exists in the home. Crystals may be placed with intention to activate energy, while a heave stone sculpture may be placed to stabilize a life situation. This is the fun part of Feng Shui. The changes or cures are about creating sacred spaces that reflect individuals as creative, empowered beings – creating a temple for the soul which moving individuals toward their karmic future.
Another suggestion for incorporating Feng Shui principles in designing a space are to work with the concept of the Five Elements or Transformations, the central theme in Oriental culture about the balance in nature. The elemental energies are fire, earth, metal, water, and wood. Why is the kitchen such a satisfying place to be? Possibly, it is because all of the elemental energies are present there. The stove represent the energy of fire: sink and refrigerator the energy of water; pots, pans and utensils the energy of metal; wood cabinets, butcher block, wooden spoons, and plants the energy of wood; fresh fruits, vegetables, and ceramic the energy of earth. People can begin by combining these energies in all rooms to create the experience of being in balance with the primary forces of nature.
Having a ceremony can honor and reinforce the placement of objects and furnishing that have been made with new intentions for the future. For example, moving one’s bed to a different position can have powerful results in placing oneself in a new position of empowerment in one’s universe. In Tibetan Tantric Buddhism Black Sect Feng Shui there are many powerful and beautiful ceremonies to reinforce new placements.
Creating sacred space is cause for celebration. Honor the space that allows the unfolding of the self. Expressing one’s individual uniqueness within personal environments can be like dressing a space as one would dress oneself for a party. Dress your space as a celebration of self. One’s space can reflect joy in the gifts of life and of nature. Fresh flowers, nine new lush plants, or a mirror to reflect an exterior scene are good ways to begin.
Finally or possibly first, courage. Occasionally it takes courage to gather, to reflect, and move boldly into new areas of life and life situations. Profound changes can happen in one’s life when small changes are made in one’s space, when courage cannot be found to move in other ways.
Feng Shui deals with the concepts intuited by our ancient ancestors. In Awakening the Buddha Within, Lama Surya Das states, “The wisdom traditions tell us that we can afford to slow down, take a breather, turn inwards, to master ourselves is to arrive HOME, at the center of being – the universal mandala”.
Feng Shui is about creating spaces sacred. Individuals have what they need. Feng Shui offers a format to put what they possess in the right places. The process of healing one’s own spaces may begin with a conversation, clearings, cleansing, correcting imbalances, ceremony, celebration and courage. However the most sacred space that is affected by improving the chi of our spaces is one’s own Inner Space, the “universal mandala”. When one creates spaces that cultivate one’s chi, according to Feng Shui principles, creating a metaphor for who and what one wants to become, individuals affect their destiny, the ultimate potential of Feng Shui.