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What is Feng Shui (Phong Thủy) and How It Affects Our Life ?

Feng Shui, simply means Wind and Water. Together these two elements affect the life of every living thing in our world. If you are my friends in Karate Martial Arts class at MC, you probably should have a chance to gain some knowledge about Qi from Sensei Hardman (whom I’m greatly thankful for first introducing to me about Qi), and its practice called Qigong – the Internal Training.

If you are not, to define the the Qi (Vital Energy – chee) term may become a little difficult. It’s almost the same as the story of a blind man who surely said he knew about the elephant. He could touch the trunk, the legs, the tail, the ear of the elephant and believed that how the elephant looked like, but it is not the elephant. The same thing applies to Qi, it’s much bigger than the word itself. Every occasion one tries to understand Qi, it maybe different from time to time. Qi in our body is the energy that keeps us alive, to keep our heart beating, our brain functions, our mind conscious and our body moving.

In nature, Qi is the principle of all knowledge and it can represent Good and Bad. The Good Qi, as its name, brings you a good and healthy environment and bad Qi on the other hand will bring bad, unhealthy one. That to make you an idea of how Qi energy could affect us. However, if you strictly seek the fundamental, there actually is no bad or good Qi. Bad Qi comes from the exceeded level of Good Qi, while Good Qi is the balance of Qi in the universe. It’s just like having a piece of coconut dipped chocolate. At first, it tastes so great and sweet, it makes you incredibly happy. Then another 4 or 5 pieces later, you start to feel the bitter of the coconut, the unpleasant smell, the hot taste of that very same chocolate and eventually 10 pieces make you want to throw up. Yummy turns to Yikes!

We are very small, just like sand on the beach, dust in the desert. To live in harmony with our mother home, the Earth, it’s obviously not good to go against nature and be destroyed. Can we withstand the Earthquake? Tsunami? Can the shelter we live in stand strong against a fierce tornado? Every second the world changes. One thing is good today, maybe come bad tomorrow because it does not follow the moving of nature. Therefore, the ancient people observed and studied many situations and types of landscape, the position of the building, graves, houses and even palace to create an environment that peacefully joins with the universe, the big world of ours. The arts is called Feng Shui, the Art of Flow in my word or some’s. Later in the old days, the knowledge was even used in battlefields. Spartan!!! No, not trying to be funny at all, but if you seriously look at the strategy of the battle you will understand.

Feng – The Wind.

There are not many people that I know who would love to stand out in a chill windy day for even half an hour. Even at the beach, where the sun is shinning, the weather is extremely hot and you stand by for a long time, you will start to feel cold. It is even worse if you live on a beach without shelter, gradually you become weak. The wind blows things away, it has the power to separate our inner Qi and it is not very good for our health. If you live in some area that is always windy, you slowly lose your Qi and get sick very easily. When your health isn’t good, the sickness brings along bad luck.

Shui – The Water.

In its nature, water is cool and calm. It helps us reduce the affect of the wind. How long far could we go without having a sip of water? Not over many days at all. If you live near a river, it means the environment or your surrounding is much cooler and the Qi does not flow too much, hence things will be quieter. However, as I mention above, when something is too much, it becomes bad. An ocean, a waterfall do affect your Qi as well. The key to be in harmony is to create the balance. There is a fine line in between Wind and Water. Wind has its Yang element of the brighter, positive side while Water has the Yin element where it is darker (should you ever look at the color of the ocean), negative characteristic. Wing is air, Water is liquid. But if you know the Taiji Ying Yang symbol, the dark side has a bit of bright, and bright side has bit of dark. Therefore, both Feng and Shui share some common elements; both are moving and so can affect our energy, and our environment.

The Art of Flow
We cannot go with one element and ignore the other. That is clearly imbalance. The best environment is the one that has both wind and water control one another in a natural balance. Google feng shui and it will come up with thousands of result whereas most of them related to interior design. There are pages that simply tell you to put some object at certain place in the house, change color of a room, hang unique decoration at the front door or windows, etc…but you should not only consider the inside but also the outside of the house or where you live in. A great surrounding gives greater supply of Qi and good inner side guides us how to absorb this Qi energy. It is the same as having a good book, if you don’t have the knowledge to understand its teaching, the book is useless to you. In Feng Shui, if there is a blockage in any area, it can affect the health, and income events of everyone who lives there. To give you the first and most basic knowledge of the Art of Flow, there are three elements that aids to balance the Qi of nature:

1.Space
It does not feel very comfortable if you would ever live in a closet. But in the home environment, people usually pack as many as materials into their living place and accidentally create the tension in the house. Too many items that if one finds himself bumping into furniture, doors..will make the feeling of tense and stressed. Nevertheless, if there is too much space in the house, as if you are living in a castle, so much space that you almost feel lost is not good, either. The flow of Qi will make you lonely and depressed. I feel sad for M.J that he lived in a big house, big land but he was always lonely. We must have enough space, again, it means to have a balance of area.

2.Light
Vampires and other bunch of devil creatures or freaks live in the dark, so it is a common funny sense that we should not live in the dark, unless… Anyway in reality, if the environment is always too dark even in day time, it will make you ill, generates a lot of thinking, then you start to feel depressed or become very tired. It is best to have enough natural sun light passes into your room that you need not to turn on any lights. The sun should be able to shine into the house so that you feel comfortable, hopeful and always look forward to the future. However, if it is too bright, the key of balance is broken. If sun shines too brightly into the house, first thing that makes is the tiredness and you begin to feel drawn. Try to avoid any flashing lights in the house, same as how you avoid to look at the camera flash light too often, it affects the eyesight and create illusions.

3.Air

Practicing Qigong means to refresh the energy in our body, the small universe. It clears blockages of the internal organs and strengthen the Prenatal Energy that we were born with. Good fresh air brings energy, it makes you healthy. You never feel dull if the air is clean, instead you find yourself more positive and stronger. Those air refresher such as Glade or candle that you leave in the room, only to trick your mind to think that the air is good and smells pleasure. But you should already realize that the air you are breathing in this case is already very stale. Even for one who live in air conditioned buildings, or such as when you go to a doctor or office, it instantly makes us tired, weaker and in the long term some will develop sleeping problems along with lots of illness.
The stale air does not only make negative impact to the body but also makes the the house smell bad. Bad smell in return harms the body in a greater way, as the result one’s future will not be so good. That is the reason we should always have the windows open to exchange the air with the environment from time to time, even during the winter time. Doing so you are letting the house breath and to avoid bad health or any harms to the body that caused by bad air. If it is very cold, leave the heat on at the middle level instead of high level while the windows slightly opened, clean air gets warm faster than stale air.

Those are the most basic elements of Feng Shui and we now have a great start off for further articles. If you create the balance out of these three keys: space, light, and air at where you live, then not only you but anyone in that area will feel better. The visitors come to your house enjoy and are more relaxed. The Art of Flow is to live in a harmony environment where every principle is in control and supports the other in a completely natural balance. Later I will either write up articles or introduce more Feng Shui knowledge to you of how items in the house could affect your body and one another. But for now let’s keep the basics at heart!

Paul Luong – March 10 / 2010 4:00AM
Images are retrieved from the WWW and some knowledge/information are gained from these following sources:
- Yijing The Book of Changes
- Architecture and Feng Shui (Vietnamese)
- Modern Interior Design and Ancient Arts
- Qi Magazine
- and online dictionaries ^_^ !

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The Library of Martial Arts is founded by Paul Luong © 2006-2013.