The words feng shui are often bantered around, but what do they really mean and how are they relevant to us? We picked the brain of feng shui consultant Sean Lui to find out some of the basic principles to maximizing this ancient wisdom for a prosperous Year of the Dog.
To the modern person, feng shui seems like a bit of mumbo jumbo peppered with scientific-sounding words like “direction” and “energy.” So what really is feng shui?
Lui describes it as a “harmonization of humans with their environment.” In other words, it is the science of how to bring humans into sync with their living areas. The theory goes that if you live in a hostile environment, this will encourage a negative energy that will affect five core areas of your life: Relationships, wealth, career, romance and health. Feng shui tries to address these hostilities by making your environment as positive as possible, and thus maximizes your chances of excelling in every aspect of your life.
Your home is your retreat from work, stress and the general problems of the outside world, so in feng shui terms its important to try to harness as much positive energy as possible in this, one of your most pivotal living spaces.
According to Lui, from 2004-2023 the most positive directions for your home to be facing are north and south. This also goes for the position of your house in relation to the country’s entire geography as well so that, for instance, houses situated in Punggol or Sengkang are in lucky or positive positions. If your house faces a different direction, then using a formula involving your birth chart, a feng shui consultant can advise on special ornaments whose strategic positioning will deflect any undesirable energy.
In terms of the shape of your home, sharp cornered houses should be avoided. Lui says houses should always be squarish or rectangular with no missing corner.
And, if you can help it, it’s best to avoid being located near places of religion such as churches or mosques. This is because the energy emitted from these localities is complicated: People usually attend places of worship because they have difficult problems they are seeking to solve, so a lot of negative energy is emitted. All this will naturally affect the properties around the source.
The lounge is a room for resting and relaxing, so it should feel like an environment conducive to these activities. More importantly, it is the primary place where family members communicate with one another, so it is especially important to ensure that people feel comfortable here. Lui suggests that the best way to ensure this result is to look at what elements are favorable to the home’s owner (according to his or her birth chart). For instance, if water is a favorable element, then lots of soft blues can be used in the room, or an aquarium-like environment can be created to help build positive energy.
It’s important that a lounge does not face any sharp point (such as the corner of another building), which is a “poison arrow” in feng shui terms. If you can’t help it, then the best way to counteract this negative chi (energy) is to put tall leafy plants in front of the window facing the arrow. Lui says leaves are the most effective way to minimize or slow down negative energy.
The bedroom is a place of rest, so this should be its focus. If there are other focal points in the bedroom, then a person will be distracted from his or her main objective (sleep) and the area won’t be conducive to a good night’s rest.
Lui recommends that the bed should face the direction of the female (not male) owner’s most positive direction, as determined by her birth chart. If this is physically impossible, then feng shui will use more creative means to do so. For instance, if the owner’s direction is west, which represents metal, then bed linen with metallic elements or even metallic colors (such as gold or silver) can be used to replicate the effects of facing west.
Having mirrors around the bed might be kinky, but it’s certainly not feng shui savvy. You should not be able to see yourself in the mirror while you are lying down in bed. The logic behind this is that sleep is when the body recycles its bad energy and replaces it with good. A mirror will just bounce your bad energy right back. But ordinary logic plays an important part as well. When you’re vulnerable in the middle of the night, the last thing you want is to startle yourself with your mirror image.
But the biggest no-no is to position your bed with your feet facing the door. This has long been regarded as the position for corpses, not those of us still alive and kicking.
Working the Office
In this time of open plan offices, it’s a bit difficult to pick and choose your desk position, but luckily Lui says this isn’t a problem. Contrary to popular belief, it’s not all bad if your back faces an open space. Just don’t have your back face an entrance. What Lui says here really makes sense: If your back is facing a door or entrance, then you’ll be distracted all day as people come and go. This affects your behavior, and therefore your ability to work effectively.
We’ve all seen the water features, crystals and various other gadgets that are touted as encouraging good energy. A guy should put such objects on his left side, while a girl should have all positive decorations on the right side of her desk.
And if you’re worried about which direction your computer should face, that can be determined for you by consulting a feng shui practitioner and your birth chart.
Rumor has it that when our country was in its infancy, several feng shui masters were consulted about how feng shui could help ensure national economic prosperity. The masters advised that every Singaporean should carry an octagram to encourage wealth. Our leaders pondered how they could ensure every Singaporean would do this, and came up with an ingenious plan. Most of our currency was adorned with a octagram, thus guaranteeing that almost every person would be carrying the lucky symbol around with him at all times.
Under the Hood
To know what you need to do to make feng shui an active part of your life, the first step is to consult a feng shui practitioner or consultant to figure out your birth chart. This ancient theory of formulas works by examining the solar date on which you are born. A feng shui consultant can, using a series of very complicated formulas, calculate and forecast what is best for you.