Sometimes, the key to aligning our senses can be as simple as performing a living room decoration shakeup. Here’s what you need to know about the art of feng shui!
By: Jacob La Cava
Our lives are full of surprises, and as a result, it can often be difficult to keep certain aspects of your life in balance. You can’t predict many of the hurdles that life throws your way; plans and expectations are bound to be disrupted by the world’s natural ebb and flow. You have two choices in how you can approach this: put up no fight and let life pull you one way or another with little to no aim, or take control and do what you can to keep yourself centered.
If you prefer the latter, feng shui is the perfect system for you to adopt. This form of spiritual centering is focused around the idea that your actual living arrangement has a meaningful effect on your everyday life. It can affect everything from the way that you currently feel to the likelihood of your future aspirations coming to fruition. By altering certain aspects of your immediate environment, feng shui — which translates to “Wind & Water” — asserts that you’ll be able to better align yourself with the natural world, resulting in beneficial effects.
Feng shui is comprised of multiple principles, the most important of which being the “commanding position,” the “bagua” and the “five elements.”
The commanding position refers to the way in which you arrange the contents of a given room. Whether it be your bedroom, living room or bathroom, each arrangement can be adjusted to bring you more in line with nature. The commanding position itself is the space in your room where you’ll be best prepared to deal with the happenings of your life. Oftentimes, this refers to your bed, which is symbolic of the self and should be placed somewhere that is facing the door. However, the bed — as well as the commanding position of any room — shouldn’t be directly in line with the door; an advantageous, diagonal placement is ideal.
Each room has its own commanding position, each functioning in similar ways: facing the door without actually being aligned with it. In your bedroom, as stated before, this position is your bed, while if you have an office, the position would be your desk, which is symbolic of your career. Some positions aren’t quite as easy to rearrange, but they still possess an effect. An example of this is the stove, which is symbolic of wealth and worldly nourishment. You can ascribe spiritual meaning to other pieces of furniture in your home as well, including couches or a chair at your kitchen table, so long as they face the door and remain slightly askew of it.
You can even take this practice with you to work! No need to leave your commanding position at home; if you have your own office, your desk is likely the commanding position, so angle it accordingly. Even if you work in a cubicle, it’s beneficial to position yourself in such a way that viewing the opening of the cubicle is quick and easy. Feng shui is flexible in this way, allowing you to take it with you wherever you go!
The bagua is the energy map that corresponds to the floor plan of your home. Translating to mean “eight areas,” the bagua consists of 8 sections surrounding a center square. These sections are titled:
- Xun (Wealth)
- Zhen (Family)
- Gen (Knowledge)
- Li (Fame/Reputation)
- Kan (Career)
- Kun (Partnership)
- Dui (Children)
- Xian (Friends)
The center square is referred to as the “tai chi”, which represents your overall health and wellness. Each section is responsible for some aspect of your life, including success in your career, partnerships and family matters. When one of these sections is thrown off by a given circumstance, it can disrupt the others and negatively impact your tai chi. You’ve likely experienced this in your own life, albeit not in this allegorical form.
There are ways to address these issues and return balance to your life by simply rearranging the section of your home that the disruptive section of the energy map corresponds to. Since it’s literally a map of your home’s layout, identifying the room or section of a room that it refers to should be fairly straightforward. Each section has a list of shapes, colors and elements that permit greater balance, so filling disruptive sections with these items will significantly quell the mayhem that they’re causing. For example, if you felt like you needed help balancing the Xun section of your home, you could fill it with Yin wood, rectangular shapes and green items. It’s not recommended to deal with more than two or three sections at a time, so it’s important that you choose the ones that truly need some work done. Find a bagua energy map that you’d like to use for your own home and start your self-care routine on a strong note!
Feng shui dictates that there are five elements that represent every phase of our lives:
These elements can’t be separated, as they are codependent upon one another in order to function properly. They always stand together and are constantly shifting, and it’s your job to figure out a way to keep them balanced. They are connected to the bagua as well, meaning that their presence in your actual living arrangements can have an impact on your balance within nature.
The elements can correlate to the items that you place in a section of your home. We can reuse the example of a Xun imbalance here. Xun is connected to the wood element, meaning that if you’re seeking to balance that section of your home, it would be beneficial to add a wooden desk or bookcase. For a fire-connected section, you could add candles, and for those connected to earth, you can introduce rugs and other items bearing a more natural color. Remember to always keep the elements in mind when you’re making decisions related to feng shui balancing.
These are some of the major principles of feng shui, which you can easily implement into your own lifestyle as a means of keeping yourself aligned with the natural world. There are multiple schools of feng shui that approach these principles in slightly different ways, and it would be ideal for you to look into at least a few of them to determine which one would be best for you!