Sun, 14 Jan 2001

Feng shui, is it a curse or a blessing?

JAKARTA (JP): If a lifetime's saving is put into buying a home then it better be the best. And to make sure that it really is the best buy, more and more people consult a feng shui master today.

Feng shui is the art of geomancy, that literally means winds and waters and is widely practiced in many parts of the East. As modern society rediscovers traditional medicine, scientists and medical researchers continue to broaden their focus by considering the effect of the environment on individual health and well being, feng shui too thrives, just like the lively property market itself.

Much of feng shui is the understanding of the invisible energy chi that permeates all living things. And it is thought wise to consider the force and nature of invisible currents in order to harmonize and bring into balance not only all the time spent in a home, but in life too.

The entire field of design and house building is radically changed by studies showing that potentially toxic elements are used in many common building materials. Background radiation emitted by high-tension wires, radar guns, or other sources, documented as a contributing cause of some cancers, is now a serious concern. Investigations into the effects of color and light on human behavior have helped many interior designers create more harmonious environments for home and workplace.

According to feng shui masters, buying a flat, house or an office with good feng shui has many benefits, including the promise of perpetual peace and prosperity. In ancient times, when people wanted to buy a piece of land to build a town or village, learned men were consulted. It dates back to more than 4,000 years, when Kuo Po first mentioned feng shui in a book of rites in 300 AD. In ancient times in Asia masters of the art of placement were employed to locate the most auspicious site for the tomb of a much-loved departed soul.

In keeping with the philosophy of integrating the outside world and our internal environment, the feng shui master felt responsible for locating a site perfectly situated between mountain ranges, near the bend of a river, or in a valley where the ancestral spirits could be in harmony with heaven and earth. The idea was to build a tomb there and to bless it to enhance the family's good fortune by the effect on future generations of the properly cared for spirit.

"Indigenous people all over the world have always known that we are not separate from our planet, our home, or one another," says William Spear, Asian studies teacher in north America who has taught the principles of feng shui all over the world for more than two decades.

Spear says in his book Feng Shui Made Easy that because we are not separate from our environment, our face and our house are closely related. The front door to the face is the mouth and the face reveals as much about a person's destiny through feng shui as a good floor plan of the house.

Based on the principles of unity and observation of the timeless perfect order in the universe, feng shui is said to bring together the external and internal environments by creating balanced, peaceful dwelling places whose occupants can bask in much health and happiness.

Modern masters have even adapted feng shui to modern times by replacing mountains with high rise buildings and rivers with roads as reference points. One way of finding out whether happiness awaits one in a new home is to first take a new born baby and if there is much crying then the feng shui of the place is not good.

A home painted in yellow causes family members to fall sick often and if after romance, make sure that there are always fresh flowers in the house. Rice and sandalwood incense is said to shoo away ghosts and bad spirits from a house and those wanting children should hang up metal wind chimes in the bedroom to dilute negative earth energies.

Since a swimming pool plays a big role in creating good feng shui its location in the house is as important as its maintenance and ask any feng shui master and you will be told that it is never a good idea to have the wealth area in the kitchen. Good luck. -- Mehru Jaffer