feng shui

Man & Nature: Chinese Wisdom that Makes Feng Shui Work


Man & Nature: Chinese Wisdom that Makes Feng Shui Work

The principal aim of Feng Shui is essentially to find a harmonious balance and a supportive connection between people and the environment that they live in. From a Chinese cultural perspective there is a fundamental interactive relationship between nature and man, space and time, influenced by tangible and intangible factors that generate human reactions.

Following the changing patterns of nature, time is cyclical in Chinese thinking, not linear, and its progress is elliptical as it moves forward. It is hard work aiming for something that is not likely to be achievable at the moment. However as the season or year changes, so does the situation we find ourselves in. The opportunity will be there at the right time, and being in the right place too at the right time is even better. Shi means timeliness.

According to Chinese philosophy our lives are shaped by fate, by destiny or ‘luck’, and by free will. Only our birth is fixed, it is our Heaven fate, because we have no control over the life situation we were born into. The rest is largely up to us. We shape how we progress in life and thereby create our own destiny by our endeavours and consideration, by continuing to acquire knowledge, and by decisions we choose to make. We can also organise our environment to support our needs and desires.

Characters, images and pattern language creatively guide Chinese thinking. Recognising several possibilities or correlations for a situation, as well as analysing it to reach a definitive outcome, becomes effective as well as efficient. This fascinating and preagmatic, yet apparently opposing, blend of left and right brain integration is also used to reach purposeful Feng Shui decisions.

This is a sophisticated example of Yin and Yang, the Chinese concept of complementary opposites as the binary code of life. Everything can be related to Yin and Yang. There can be no procreation without male and female, no shadow without sunlight. And it is the different Yin and Yang qualities of Qi that determine its potential to become desirable or undesirable.

To make Feng Shui right, there also has to be Qing, which means feeling or affection, so that the built space we inhabit enjoys a mutually supportive resonance with forms in the natural landscape and in combination they give us protection as well as opportunity.

The connection between nature’s form, heaven’s intangible influences, and human needs, called San Cai in Chinese, is the secret to creating balance and harmony in your home or workplace so that you will thrive and flourish, gain life enrichment and happiness. That connection is where the solutions are most likely to be found.

Feng Shui Guidelines to Choose Artwork for your Living Space

The Two Ladies in a Boat    Hanging Scroll by Fei Danxu (1801-1850)

The Two Ladies in a Boat    Hanging Scroll by Fei Danxu (1801-1850)

Owning a work of art that is special to you is sure to inspire your mood and enrich your life.  Textiles and wallhangings, wooden carvings and metallic objects, vases and vessels, china and ceramics, deities and sculptures all constitute artwork. Art makes an expressive focal point and the choice goes way beyond just paintings.

When you want to acquire your special piece of artwork, or to decide where to place it, you may confidently draw on the aesthetic design principles of Feng Shui to help guide and inspire your decision making. Foremost considerations are that you feel a connection and affection for it, that your attention is held meaningfully when you engage with the piece, and that you resonate positively with it.

Artwork that is most likely to complement your living space is ageless, timeless and engaging, with light and shade, action and calmness, superficial interest and deeper layers combining in sensitive yin-yang balance. Use art colour tones to create the connection with your decor. Neutral decor themes will be harmoniously enlivened by complementary accents of brighter hues in artwork.  You can also create an aesthetic composition with a well-balanced group of art pieces.

Because fundamentally we need to feel connected with nature, flowers and natural scenes tend to work very well in apartments with no outside space and in urban living spaces.  Artwork in your home is meant to feel inspiring, uplifting, happy, romantic, evocative and beautiful. So be sure to avoid impressions of aggression, sadness or loneliness and dull, scary, harsh or ugly imagery.

 It is important that your artwork enhances the location where it is placed and that it is in harmony with its close surroundings. Give it adequate space, light and visibility, so that you can fully enjoy looking at it. The addition of strategically positioned, direct or indirect lighting sources and well-placed mirrors will illuminate and augment its beauty. The picture frame is also a component of art, so choose it carefully to complement the subject, its tones and textural elements.

Owning a special piece of artwork that you treasure is so emotionally fulfilling, because our response to art is expressed from the heart. Choose yours with love on a day when you feel happy. And you can draw on these Feng Shui guidelines to help you make your choice.

Watch Sylvia’s Artwork Video at Christie’s

Wind in the City

Our modern urban society is experiencing a worrying ‘new’ environmental situation that practitioners of Feng Shui have been cautioning about for thousands of years. We term it ‘Wind Sha'. When I recently conducted students’ study tours at London’s Canary Wharf, it was impossible to ignore the excessive wind that blew constantly, channeled between the awesome high rise buildings that occupy its straight East-West main streets. Many have angular corners, which accentuate thewind force.  Now it seems it is no longer only Feng Shui devotees who acknowledge the problem exists.  

Wind is funnelled between tall structures and is directed harshly towards any property that faces a T-junction. This is perceived in Feng Shui as a detrimental force that affects occupants, undermining their life situations.  

The wind speed and its pressure increase to become unpleasant, even harmful, as demonstrated in this photo of a beautiful lime tree growing in direct line with the gap between two large houses near me that was blown down during last year’s high winds. And the house facing this alleyway also sustained damage.

Read more about urban wind patterns, the downdraught effect, Venturi effect and the physics behind them responsible for escalating this disruptive phenomenon.  http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/magazine-33426889