Zen Feng Shui

Feng shui, the ancient Eastern art of placement, describes ways to organize a clutter-free living space to optimize the flow of good energy, or chi. Zen is the school of Mahayana Buddhism that zeros in on the attainment of enlightenment through direct experience. A Zen practice involves paring away all that is extraneous to enhance meditative calm and focus without distraction. Together, feng shui and Zen design give you a living room full of emptiness where peaceful energy can live.

8 Feng Shui Basics for a Zen Home

We’ve all joked at some point or another that the feng shui in our homes is out of whack when things start to feel a little chaotic. Well — there might be more truth to those offhanded statements than we realize. Feng shui is based on the idea that the home is an outward reflection of what is going on inside us and looks to balance your energy with the energy of your home, ultimately creating an environment that aligns with who you are and where you want to go. Sounds good right? To get started you’ll need to think about your space in a whole knew way. Every room and everything in it has its own energy and their relationships with space and one other have implications for the overall energy of your home. Following the “rules” of feng shui will help guide all that good energy (chi) and allow it to flow through your home.

1. Clear out clutter.

A clutter-free home is the cornerstone of feng shui. All that good energy can’t flow freely if it’s tripping over things like boxes, last week’s recycling or all those knicknacks covering your shelves. Closet detoxes have become huge over the last few years, but the rest of your home could likely use one too. Make the rounds and get rid of anything you honestly don’t love, things that are broken and aren’t likely to be repaired, or accents, decorations or furniture you still haven’t found the “right” place for yet. Sure, it won’t be fun, but you’ll be amazed by how much better your home will feel after taking just this one simple step.

2. Have an intention.

By going down the path of feng shui you’re obviously committed to making a positive change in your home and life. But it’s also important to have a sense of why you’re doing it or a specific goal in mind. Are you looking to improve your health? Do you feel stuck? Does your career need a boost? Define your important life goals, as well as those that are the top two or three on your priority list. Using the feng shui energy map, or bagua, you can take these goals and translate them into your space, creating an environment that will help you bring them into reality.

3. Improve your air quality and lighting.

Both air quality and light have an undeniable connection to how we feel. And while we often focus the quality of outdoor air, the air in hour homes deserves just as much attention. Change the air frequently by opening windows and consider adding plants an and air purifier to your space. Poor lighting can have negative effects on our mood and cause a level of discomfort (eyestrain for example). Feng shui recommends filling your home with as much natural light as possible, but ample artificial lighting is also important. Interior designers will often recommend having three light sources in a room, including task lights, accent lighting and ambient lighting, which can be adjusted to the time of day and how the room is being used. Full-spectrum light bulbs are another thing to consider, which mimic natural light (typically used to treat Seasonal Affective Disorder).

4. Define your energy map.

To begin applying the principles of feng shui to your home, you need to first define your home’s energy map, or bagua. The bagua, which literally means “8 areas” in Chinese, is a basic tool that shows you which areas of your home are connected to specific areas of your life, like spirituality and growth, wealth and health. There are two main methods for defining your bagua, the classical method and the Western method. Once you choose a method, you’ll want to stick with it to avoid any confusion.

5. Get to know the basics of the five elements.

Feng shui divides the world into five different elements, which include wood, earth, fire, water and metal. The elements have their own energies and are used to create balance in a space. The elements are also important for helping you achieve your goals. By placing certain elements in specific areas of your home, you can promote things like health, wealth, growth and more. Elements come in the form of color, artwork, furnishings, textures and shapes.

6. Find your birth element.

Knowing your feng shui birth element (which is often different from your astrological element) will allow you to fill your home with colors, textures and accents that will nourish and support your own personal energy. Accents that reflect your element are key, as are those that feed your element (for example: if you are wood, you will incorporate wood elements in your home, as well as water elements since water feeds wood).

7. Define your Kua number and lucky direction.

OK, so this is where things start to get really specific. Your Kua number and lucky directions specify feng shui directions that will energize you with good energy. This involves positioning furniture or even yourself towards the South, North, East, etc., depending on your number and avoiding others, which can have more negative implications for your energy.

8. Keep tabs on your home’s energy.

Stay on top of your home’s energy and make adjustments as necessary when things start to feel out of whack. Your bedroom, kitchen and bathroom are the most important areas of your home and this is where you’ll want to focus the majority of your attention. As your goals or intentions change, you should also change the elements in these areas to harmonize with your new needs.

It’s no secret Vancouver’s real estate boom is fuelled greatly by the emergence of a middle class in China that’s eager to buy homes here. Savvy real estate agents are capitalizing on their penchant for properties that exhibit desirable feng shui qualities.

And so are interior designers. Classical feng shui master Marlyna Los advises clients on everything from where to move the couch, what colour to paint the room or what kind of lighting they should have to what kind of home to buy.

Los has studied feng shui for more than 18 years with four different masters all over the world including China, Australia and the United States. These are the tips she uses when advising both real estate agents and home buyers.

4 Factors of Classical Feng Shui

At its most basic level, classical feng shui can be broken down into four factors that, together, determine how desirable a location is for the client’s needs.

1. Location

Look at the physical area itself. Los advises that 70% of a building’s energy is determined by its location within a five mile radius. Traditionally positive traits include elevation and proximity to water. Elements that are typically avoided are bridges and fast-moving traffic. She knows of one Asian investor who bought property based solely from observations taken from a helicopter survey of the land.

2. Building

How is the building set within its location? “Some properties just don’t sell because of the direction they face,” says Los. Traditionally, a south-facing home is desirable because the sun is thought to warm the house and foster strength and health for its inhabitants.

3. Occupants

In order to do an accurate consultation, Los always uses the Chinese zodiac charts to map out the “energy blueprint” of the occupants. Only then is she able to accurately choose the best location for her clients’ needs, whether it’s for a personal home or a business operation.

4. Time

When was the building constructed? “Houses run in 20-year cycles,” Los explains. For example, buildings that were made in 2004 will flourish and increase in value in 2024. Of course, there are smaller changes to a house’s energy every year, but every 20 those seriously practicing more advanced feng shui will make adjustments such as painting their house or changing their front door.

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