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Feng Shui vs Western Practicalities
Feng-Shui tile
mystical nonsense, or something worth consideration?

I don't want you to get the wrong idea: A Season of Happiness hasn't gone mystical or new-age. We've always tried to look at life in practical terms based on our own personal experiences which are influenced by a Western-style culture. Neither is the intention to discredit an ancient philosophy by unfairly comparing it to the way we've always been used to doing things. What I would like to show is how East and West are pretty similar in the search for a better, happier lifestyle - each is simply utilising a different compass to find the best direction. The one thing we all have in common is the natural instinct to know when we are striking the right balance, the feeling of comfort and satisfaction when we realise that whatever we have been trying to achieve is actually working.

Years ago my wife gave me a book on Feng Shui because, I suspect, she believed it would help me find a solution to some problems that had been dogging me for a while. At the time I was working at home, skipping between writing, housework and gardening. My initial reaction to the gift was uncharitable to say the least. Sporting a sarcastic sneer, I recall flicking through the pages and thinking: what a load of rubbish! - this before even reading a word. When I eventually did some days later, I was still harbouring my earlier resentment and focussed only on those passages which seemed to fire my animosity towards principles that I considered both alien and utterly useless to me. Over ten years on, I have just read it again, in a different place under vastly different circumstances, and I now realise how pig-headed I was back then. No wonder my wife bought me the book - she probably hoped it would improve my temperament and negative outlook.

Having taken the time to try and understand it, I gather Feng Shui is a guide for people to acquire what they need to be happy and successful by following a set of rules relating to where they live and work; in effect, the building and the rooms within it where they perform their desired tasks and activities, twenty-four hours of every day. If you are thinking like I was ten years ago, you'll be tempted to ditch this article right now; but stick with me a while longer, I beg you: I promise I am coming to the practical bit. Looking back, that was the way I always tackled my problems because it was what I knew best. When I compare my solutions with Feng Shui, however, although the reasons for changes made might have been different, the results were remarkably similar. As a simple example, by a process of elimination I discovered I could write best sitting on the bed leaning back against the head-board - I don't know why: it just worked, that's all; applying the principles of Feng Shui, it seems the position of the bed and the way it was facing was the ideal direction within a room in the "right" part of the house exactly where I was likely to be most creative and productive - a peculiar coincidence, or something much more?

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