As sure as the wind blows and the sun shines, Ch’i flows through our lives. Ch’i is the essential energy which flows through our bodies and through our homes and offices and knowing that and using it correctly is the secret of successful feng shui
Ch’i is literally the breath of life. When we die our ch’i departs back into the environment. As Chinese philosophers understood, wind and water are not the only ‘elements’ flowing through the landscape and sustaining life. A more subtle energy – which they named ch’i – flows through the environment, enlivening the earth as well as all living things.
Living with the right accumulation of ch’i is reputed to be a source of greater concentration and clear headedness, abundant wealth, health and happiness. The Chinese see this as an accumulation of ‘luck’. Luck, for the Chinese, is not something that just happens, it is something that can be worked on and consciously increased.
The essence of feng shui is to analyse a landscape, a town or a house to determine where the most favourable flows of ch’i are located, to deflect fast flowing ch’i and to attract new or enhance existing ch’i concentrations – to ‘tap the veins of the dragon’.
On a personal level, acupuncture practitioners have long known of its existence, and have built up elaborate maps of the ‘meridians’ or channels it uses to flow through the body. Although acupuncture is widely accepted in the West as a valid form of therapy, there is still some way to go before the circulation of ch’i energy through the human body is accepted by western science as an explanation of the success of acupuncture techniques.
Adepts of the martial arts have learned how to accumulate ch’i within the body (especially the solar plexus) through a hard and exhausting regimen, that enables them to perform seemingly impossible feats.
Straight lines, or fast flowing streams, or straight roads deplete and disperse ch’i, leading to the evaporation of luck. The opposite, stagnation, contributes to the breakdown of ch’i, just as the life force disperses when a body dies. The ideal conditions for accumulating positive energy is the slow coiling sinuous flow of water or breezes which accumulate healthy ch’i in a suitably protected haven.
For this accumulation to occur the site must be protected, but it must also have access to a vigorous and positive flow, allowing the site to ‘tap into a dragon vein’, drawing off and hoarding ch’i successfully. In short, through the right configuration of feng (wind) and shui (water) we can accumulate ch’i, which is beneficial to both man and his surroundings.
Benign ‘cosmic breath’ is called sheng ch’i, and it brings well-being, the feeling of ‘everything is right with the world’. Deplete or stagnant ch’i is called sha ch’i. As accumulating ch’i gives you an increasingly positive attitude to the world, it is just a short leap of imagination to see that your reaction to those around you is going to be more positive.
Your loved ones will notice it first, then your colleagues at work and finally the world at large. This will automatically result in an improvement in your relationships, your work and, as your boss begins to notice, your career prospects. This all contributes to what seems to be an increase in luck, followed by an increase in prosperity.
Feng shui does not imply a lack of free will – there is plenty of room for the pro-active – simply that it is much easier to go with the flow than constantly struggle upstream against it. By careful manipulation of feng shui you can insure that the flow is going your way.