Feng Shui: The Next Level
by Seann Xenja
The ever-growing popularity of Feng Shui, known as the Chinese art of placement, is easily understood. After all, we live in a culture that often decides where to place a couch by the position of the television or the closest cable access!
Since people first appeared on Earth (no matter where or how or by what process you may think they arrived) there has always been the need to find locations where people can live healthy, secure, and prosperous lives. Life "takes place," and the ability to select, design, and construct homes and businesses in harmony with the vitality of the land and atmosphere is essential. Feng Shui goes to the heart of what people need to feel comfortable and secure in their surroundings, regardless of their economic status or beliefs, in a simple and elegant way.
A decade ago, there was just a handful (literally) of books on the subject. Now there are over a hundred titles, and once secret (or at the very least hard-to-find) knowledge is readily available. We can read all about the origins, principles, and many ways to apply this ancient yet up-to-date wisdom, from the best position for our desk or bed all the way through how to select or combine colors of clothing. The common thread through all this information is the search for the most suitable environments for all our activities.
To sense and feel the energies in one's immediate environment parallels and requires personal growth. From our bodies we expand outward, to discover how the relative positions of objects within our home and workplaces, along with the design, setting, and characteristics of structures, influence our lives. With this understanding, we can shift, rearrange, create, and enhance. Just as a point of conscious awareness grows spiritually, the larger we extend our spatial boundaries, the more we learn about our world and can begin to play a role in the bigger picture.
It's a process of being and becoming, and judging from the work of many dedicated Feng Shui practitioners and educators, and the many workshop participants, clients, and students, the time is right to go beyond basic Feng Shui. How can we apply the same principles to influence and bring wholeness to our communities and the world? Here are some suggestions.
When starting a venture, it's often helpful to begin at home or in the office by creating more space. One of the easiest ways to do this is by looking for where energy is blocked or stagnant, and the most typical indication of this is the presence of clutter, the great Feng Shui malady of the United States. Tackle at least one of these areas in earnest. Weed out, recycle, throw away, or give to others who can actually use and benefit from your truly unneeded items. This process will allow new projects to take shape and find a place, and the giving away part is wonderful for moving your sense of social responsibility and contribution on to the next level.
Next, decide on your focus, say a project for your neighborhood. In the same way that one gathers information about a residential or business site, explore your "barrio." Look with awareness. Take in the sensations from the health and abundance (or lack thereof) of the vegetation, trees, and plants. Are there vacant or run-down buildings, abandoned lots, missing signs, common or public areas that need some positive attention?
Dead-end streets and cul-de-sacs often correspond with low energy and lack of movement. Any of these conditions are ripe for Feng Shui solutions, the same ones that are used for a home or office. As always, cleaning and recovering neglected places will revitalize. Planting trees or new shrubs adds life force, and also homes for birds and other wild creatures (remember, Feng Shui isn't just for people). Colorful murals and objects, additional lighting in dark or low-energy areas, fountains, statues, and wind chimes can all work wonders.
Perhaps you want to work on the city or town level, and take on a larger-scale project. What's the status of the steams, rivers, ponds, or other water in your area? Water represents wealth, and polluted, stagnant, or restricted water has an adverse effect on prosperity. Parks, town centers, and new civic projects can all benefit from Feng Shui attention.
Maybe there is a new public building or proposed development in planning or progress. It's amazing how often the human or end-user element of the building process receives insufficient consideration. Offer your time and advice if you feel qualified, or enlist the help of an experienced practitioner to make Feng Shui part of the design and architectural process. Support your information with books, examples, or successful newspaper articles.
Point to Donald Trump as someone who learned from experience about the value of Feng Shui for real estate development by incorporating it in his most recent and successful ventures. There is a long tradition of using Feng Shui principles for civic planning, from the cities of ancient China to the most modern office buildings of Hong Kong. Also valuable are the principles and techniques found in Western geomancy, also known as sacred geometry.
Nationwide, a community outreach program called Feng Shui Across America is bringing Feng Shui services free of cost to homes, hospitals, and hospices that are providing care to adults and children who are challenged by HIV/AIDS. (For information call  256-2640.) Conceived by New York-based Feng Shui consultant Nancy SantoPietro, as of May 1998 FSAA is currently organized in 31 states and has over four hundred volunteers, providing everything from what to do through the actual implementing of solutions to support the healing process during vulnerable and difficult times.
This example shows that there are no actual limits to how far we can extend our horizon. The world is a very big place. Whether working in a neighborhood or in some distant land, anything more than a one-person project will require helpful people. One powerful way to call in support is to place a Feng Shui solution, such as a plant, crystal, light, statue, wind chime, picture, or even simply a name in the right front corner of your home, office, or bedroom relative to the entry door (standing looking in). This is an area associated in Feng Shui with benefactors.
For the most powerful effect, use a prayer and visualization while placing the object. This is an essential part of the process. Ritual practices are applicable to any level of Feng Shui, and are a powerful means to cleanse a site. Groundbreaking or dedication ceremonies are available in many traditions of Feng Shui, and can play an important role by bringing in the power of spiritual connection.
As with any component of Feng Shui, always remember that your own vision and creative gifts are the most important part. The techniques and principles are powerful tools for change and transformation, just waiting to be used to create balance, harmony, and the sense of well-being. Have fun and enjoy the adventure!
Seann Xenja, senior disciple of Professor Lin Yun, is the creator of two best-selling videos and provides site analysis nationally and internationally. On the invitation of Charlene Weaver, director of the Feng Shui Academé of Seattle, Seann will present a workshop on September 18, 19, and 20 at Bastyr University. See ad in this issue or call (206) 284-5600 for information.