By Jenny Liu




Symbols impact our subconscious mind, they invoke memories from our past and stimulate our present experiences. Because our subconscious mind makes up about 95% of our mind frame, the power of symbols on our well-being is infinitely strong. The art and science of symbolism plays an important role in feng shui.

The idea of symbolism is an integral part of the Chinese culture where everything has a deeper meaning and effect. This can be seen in the Chinese language. Each Chinese character is a symbol, a picture that connotes an idea or concept. Often times, these ideas and concepts simply cannot be justified through English simply because of the cultural experience required to understand the deeper meaning of these words. Therefore, literal translations are often misleading. It is important to understand that because the Chinese language communicates with pictures, symbolism is deeply ingrained in their way of life, the culture, the philosophies.

It is very apparent in Chinese art, architecture, music, and so forth that it is important for things to have an innate meaning or purpose. Empowered with a meaning or purpose allows it to stimulate our mind at a subconscious level. Symbols do not necessarily have to be physical. It can be anything that has the power of suggestion. Sound, smells and color are all frequencies that can be associated to certain ideas as well. That is why there are songs, fragrances, and colors that can be happy, sad, exciting, soothing, arousing, and so on. Even our feelings or dreams in a certain place or with a certain person are symbolic; they have an deeper subconscious significance that will affect us in our consciousness.

For instance, the image of the fish is often seen as a lucky symbol and is often used in the home or office. For most people, the fish is just a fish. For the Chinese, the image of the fish conjures up a lot more than just seafood. The word fish is "yuČ which is the homynyn for abundance. So, when they see it, it elicits the powerful mental thought of abundance. This is so culturally rooted and accepted, it is not only empowered only by the viewer but by generations of memory.

In feng shui, the house is symbolic of the person. The door is the mouth, the rooms on either side of the main door are the lungs, the center is the heart, the back door is the anus, the roof is the head, the windows are the eyes, and so forth. The house should be symmetrical like the human body. When it is awkwardly shaped, it will affect our body's well-being. If it sits on unstable lands, the people inside are likely to be unstable as well. Whether or not we are aware of this, it affects our subconscious and instinctual mind. If we open the door everyday and there is a wall or tree right in front of it, we are constantly confronting an obstruction. Generally speaking, this blockage can create a mental stagnation inducing things in our life occur likewise. In metaphor, it is hard to take in energy when something is blocking your mouth. Again, this may or may not affect us depending on our constitution.

Even inanimate objects such as pictures, paintings, jewelry, sculptures and so forth all possess "qiČ or energy. They are symbols that were created by "thought" or brain frequencies that invoke a deeper significance and meaning to our subconscious mind. We are not always aware of its affect on us. Feng shui acknowledges symbolic associations and their influence on our psychological and physical well-being. Consequently in feng shui, it is vital to surround ourselves with images or symbols that "empower" our mind and bodies with positive energies that promote our growth.

There are geographic symbols as well. The shapes, color, vegetation, direction and so forth of a mountain are symbolic of what type of energy it possesses and how it can affect us. For instance, if we have green round mountains behind us, it offers protection and positive earth energies. However, we cannot benefit from mountains that are bald or rocky.

Whether we acknowledge it or not, everything around us has meaning and an effect on us. Feng shui is the art of creating an environment rich with symbolism that elicits positive thinking, mind focus, progress and prosperity at every level of our life. Once we become aware of our environment and its effects, we can empower it. This is extremely powerful because it becomes an reinforcement that promotes us. This is an infinitely upward spirally cycle of progress. The more energy we put into creating an environment that promotes us, the more it benefits us, the more we can improve our environment, and so forth.

Therefore, in feng shui, everything around us must be carefully selected and placed. The color, location, number, shape, size, type and so forth all have a special meaning and will affect us in a particular way. The goal is to make as many things as possible promote our well-being. No matter which way you turn, which room you go into, positive images and stimulus are always activating mental energies that induce positive thoughts that realize personal goals and desires.

It is vital that we understand the underlying meaning of the feng shui principles otherwise it is meaningless. When feng shui is not understood, it may seem arbitrary and nonsense, often wrongly accused of being magical or superstitious. In reality, it is simply based on common sense, natural laws and more than 8,000 years of experience. It is unfortunate that so much information is twisted and misunderstood through translation and hearsay.

It is a shame for anyone to dismiss or criticize anything without understanding it first. However, just accepting it is not enough, it is so much more powerful to learn and understand why feng shui works. We cannot embrace something new and gain from it without an open mind.

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 . Awarded 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.spiritweb.org/spirit/feng-shui.html   If you have questions, you can also reach her at (626) 282-8536. 

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