By Jenny T. Liu, M.A.



Feng shui in the Hot Spot
In the last 10 years, feng shui has been like a drop of dye that has slowly spread its color into the waters of the Western world. In the past year, it hit the mainstream when business tycoon, Donald Trump revealed that his New York building is designed according to feng shui. Apparently, this event turned his weakening financial status back to success. Following this news flash, feng shui received a lot of attention and hype in the media.

Eager to fulfill the demand of curious minds, writers, producers, and reporters rushed to create stories on feng shui. As it is, because many writers and reporters themselves have little if any knowledge of feng shui, they do not necessarily know how to judge what is right or wrong. Yet, they are quick to pick out a few general examples and point out the inconsistencies of feng shui without really understanding them in depth.

Today, feng shui often comes across in bits and pieces that are usually taken out of context and tend to be misleading. For instance, you might hear that it is not good to live at the end of a T-intersection and a staircase that lines up with front door is bad. In general, these ideas are not wrong, but they usually come with no explanation and are only a small part of the whole picture. Based on these, it is easy for people to be skeptical and question the validity of feng shui.

Like any new trend in a capitalist society, people with marketing minds treat feng shui as a commodity, selling it as a quick fix to many problems in life. A variety of feng shui books and kits soon appeared on the shelves and weekend workshops sprang up that turned people into certified feng shui practitioners. In this rush to meet consumer demands, the theories of why and how feng shui works - its counterparts, its effectiveness, and the depth of feng shui as a way of life - is rarely put into the package. When these attempts at feng shui do not work, the concept of feng shui is questioned, rather than the ability of the interpreter or applicator.

With all the confusion, there is a constant call for the scientific testing of feng shui. Those who have studied and practiced feng shui all their life have little reason to question its validity. They know the complexities, qualities and limitations of feng shui. They respect the integrity of the culture and understand the responsibility of sharing the truth. Just because certain things are beyond the scientific means of validity, does this mean everything outside the scientific realm does not exist? Is our vast world limited to a single perspective? I do not think so. It is important for us to broaden our perspective and take a look at the big picture.

The Grand View
There are more than thirty factors or universal phenomena that influence our well-being. Depending on our personal priorities and our current stage in life, each of these 30 factors has a different degree of influence on us. Statistically, each of these factors has about 3.3% effect on us. We can divide these 30 factors into two main categories. There are factors that are "predestined," which lay the foundation and may set limits on our life. Then, there "adjustable" factors which can be used to promote our success in life.

"Predestined" factors are imposed upon us before we are born. Some of these include our inheritance from our parents - their genes, their state of health when they conceived us, their background, social rank, and culture. Other predestined factors include our ancestral burial grounds (one of the original uses of feng shui was selecting burial grounds where the deceased can absorb positive earth frequencies to enhance the well-being of their posterity), and for those who believe in reincarnation, their past lives.

One of the tools used to gather information about people is the Chinese astrology or Zi Wei birth chart which is calculated from the date and time of birth. It is a statistical record of planetary configuration or cosmic energies that exist at a specific time and has an accuracy of about 80-90%. However, it is still only one of 30 factors that influences a personšs life. It serves as a useful guideline to give us insight into our life. Generally, it covers 12 aspects (personal energies, parents, siblings, spouse, career, money, travel, fortune, property, friends, health and children) of our life at ten year, annual and monthly cycles. At the moment we are born into the world, our place of birth, our physique, the current political/economic situation, and any negative energies are also influential factors over which we have little control.

"Adjustable" factors can be altered and developed through various stages of our life. Some of these are internal changes that can be made within ourselves. They include our personality, creativity, morale, motivation, ambition, endurance, health, aura, philosophy of life, habits, name, adaptability, posture, mannerism, abilities for making a living, our spirituality and level of subconscious development. External factors that can be changed and developed include our education, our relationships with people, our career, our place of establishment and the feng shui of our living/working environment.

Feng shui is a system of analyzing people's energy. It allows us to understand how to bring together various phases of energy in their environment. It helps to bring about positive chain reactions so we can live up to our fullest potential. It is important to understand that feng shui is not the only factor. The more factors that give us positive direction and promote our well-being, the better we can do in life. Oftentimes, when we feel we have done all we can and yet we feel stagnant, adjusting the energies or feng shui of our environment can give us the extra wind for smooth sailing. Because we are constantly within our office or home, the feng shui of our environment is an easily accessible source of change

About the author: Jenny Liu holds a Bachelors Degree in Environmental Design from UC Berkeley and a Masters Degree in Architecture from UCLA. She is an expert in the 5,000 year old Chinese philosophy of Feng Shui who also shares her knowledge through seminars, workshops, periodicals and the Internet. Award-ed for her Master's Thesis on Feng Shui, Ms. Liu is a fourth generation practitioner with her own consulting firm. For more information, please see her website http://www.-liu-fengshui.com/  or for the library of her articles http://www.spirit-web.org/spirit/feng-shui.html . If you have questions, you can also reach her at (626) 282-8536.

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