Can a room change someone’s life?

That’s what many feng shui books claim. Changing your furniture can change your life.  I really wondered if this was true.

My curiosity led me to buy a few books.  

Without much knowledge on the subject, I thought feng shui was feng shui.  But as I went down the rabbit hole I found out that this wasn’t so.

Who knew that there are so many different schools of feng shui?  I had no idea that each school uses different methods to assess the energy of a space.

Some use your date of birth to match the energy of a house.  Others use the date the house was built.  Another school divides the house into nine compartments to assess energy.  And the list continues.  No wonder I was confused. They all said something a little different and often contradict one another.

Why were there so many different schools?  Why couldn’t they all agree with each other?

The answer to my question came one day from a realtor I met. 

I asked her, “Do you believe in feng shui?”  

“In general, I do.  There is energy in space.  But I don’t know about some of the practices.  I have many Chinese clients who buy houses.  Most believe in feng shui.  However, I found that each person had their own beliefs.  It depends on what their parents taught them.  And it was all based on what part of China they were from.  So I just agree with whatever they say.”

“What a clever realtor!”  I thought.  

Joking aside, what she said made so much sense.  Differences in feng shui practices in China were mainly due to what your family believed and the geography of your home town.

Of course, there was no internet.  Information came by word of mouth.  Furthermore, with China being such a large country, what worked in the southern provinces probably didn’t make sense in the north anyway.  No wonder there was such a variety of practices.  China is a huge country.


How I came across Form School Feng Shui.

One day, a flower arrangement group I belong to was going to feature a feng shui master.  I called my girlfriend and we decided to go together.

Dr. Shantung Hsu is a short and stocky man.  He looked like what I imagined a feng shui master would look like. Maybe it was his clothes too; Chinese jacket, beads, and loose black pants.    

He didn’t talk about what was in all the books I read.  There was no magic formula or splitting the house into nine sections.  He didn’t talk about red strings and bamboo flutes.  This guy was different.  

He talked about the energy of a landscape.  And how the land affected the lives of the people living there.  There was no mention about birthdays or auspicious dates.  It all just made common sense.  And it made scientific sense too.  I was curious and wanted to learn more.

That was over twelve years ago.  I’m still learning about feng shui and energy.  It still fascinates me.


What is Form School feng shui?

Form School is the original feng shui that began over 3,000 years ago in China.  

The practice began as simply a means of survival: How to secure the basic human needs for food, water, shelter, and security.

Like all development and discovery in life,  the ancient people learned about better living conditions through trial and error. 

 Building on higher ground meant they avoided flooding.  Life was easier if they had a water source such as a river or stream nearby.  Following the animals was a simple way to source food resources.  All this accumulated knowledge was universal in practice.  It wasn’t unique to the Chinese.  But, they have a longer history and this knowledge was passed down from generation to generation.  This is how feng shui began.  It followed nature and natural laws. In simple terms, feng shui is the accumulated knowledge of how the environment affects our lives.  

Form School principles are based on Chi, what some call ife energy, and Natural Laws of Ying-yang and the Wu-Xing theory.  These are Chinese terms but have universal principles.  The main concept is “form defines energy, energy manifests information.”


What does this means?  

Without going into too much detail and theory, feng shui is about finding or creating the best environment for you to grow and thrive.   This is done through a two step process.  First, we assess the energy of both the object and space.  Second, we make sure the objects in the space are the right fit and are placed in the best position possible.  By doing this, those that use the space can function without effort because it feels natural and works optimally.  That is good feng shui.

This means that by observing the form or shape of anything or any place and understanding the qualities of its materials, we can assess the life energy of that object or environment.  After this we assess the energy of the relationship between the object and environment.  The goal is making sure the object is in an environment that is most beneficial for growth and fulfilment.

For example, we have a wood ladder back dining chair.  We look at its form.  It has a tall back with slats.  The seat is wide and deep.  The legs are thick and sturdy.  The edges are slightly rounded and smooth.

What’s the material?  It’s beech wood with a light clear stain.  

Now we have a clearer picture of the quality and characteristics of the chair.  

Next, where are we going to put this chair?

That’s right.  Feng shui is not just about the energy of the object.  It’s about the  relationship between the object and the environment.  How well does this chair suit the space?  Is it a good fit?  Will it function well for the people who use it and the location. When it’s a good fit we say the feng shui is successful.

 What if we put the chair on the outdoor patio?  Is that a wise choice?  Probably not because beech is not a good wood to be exposed to water and outside elements. It absorbs water, causing the wood to decay and not hold up well.    

How about using it in the living room?  A ladder back wood chair is quite stiff.  It helps you sit upright.  In the living room, we watch TV or read a book.  We want to be comfortable and relax, so something softer and contouring to the body would work better.  

The best place for this chair is of course in your dining room for your dining room table. 

It’s the right environment for this purpose and function.  It makes you sit upright.  It has a tall backrest to lean against.  It can be wiped easily if you spill something on it.  It will last a long time.  It ticks many of your functional and maybe aesthetic and economic needs.  That’s good feng shui.

Form School is not about astrology, superstitions, cultural practices, or numerology.  It’s about real situations in real environments that follow nature and her laws.


Photo by Mathew Schwartz on Unsplash

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