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Feng Shui vs Western Practicalities

Most of us have to be guided by circumstances and availability. There is no such thing as a perfect solution, and my Feng Shui author admits this, so we have to be practical about where we live and when we move to a new abode. Not everyone can afford to buy or build a home in the ideal position during an auspicious time of the year, especially not one with a layout that satisfies the most advisable principles of Feng Shui. In many cases, those who can only rent are often stuck with what they can get. Places can be adapted, though. A tenant may not be allowed to knock down walls and add extensions, but there are steps they can take which introduce the personal touch. When you think about it, no matter what it is made of, or in what shape or form those materials are assembled, we all live in a box, usually incorporating a number of smaller boxes. The home comes not from the outside, but those intimate comforts we put in it; and there are a few additions recommended by Feng Shui that can even improve on this. Water is said to be a powerful force. A small water feature, or an aquarium set in the right place can apparently direct a beneficial flow of Chi energy through a room or building; in a practical sense, watching fish swim in a calm environment has a settling influence - that's why they can be found in some medical waiting rooms. Mind you, they are a lot of work and if you succeed in killing the fish by neglect, I don't imagine you'd feel too serene. Mirrors, apparently, can be good or bad, depending where they are mounted. They certainly reflect light and can project the illusion of space and depth; but I'm skeptical about their ability to influence the flow of an invisible energy which I find hard to admit the existence of. Clearly my Western upbringing will only let me go so far when it comes to Eastern philosophy.

As for the practical side of where and how to set up a home, we had plenty of opportunities to perfect our skills while on the road. Two years as itinerant fruit pickers necessitated moving from place to place, and as we were camping, each time we pitched the tent, decisions had to be made with respect to the best position. Where we had a choice of available sites, we picked the one which was reasonably close to facilities, but that didn't compromise our privacy and was away from areas that might be noisy at night - having to work from dawn till dusk, we needed our sleep. Trees provide shade, but they can also drop branches; dips in the ground can fill with water when it rains; and a spot near a cow paddock might be a pleasant outlook, but the smells and flies that go with it are quite the reverse. Then there was which way to face the tent, taking into consideration the season with regard to heat, prevailing winds, the possibility of storms, plus having a relaxing view to appreciate while we were winding down at the end of a hard day. Feng Shui was never applied because we didn't think about it, just going with past experiences; but on reflection, it would probably have supported most of the decisions we made.

Whatever materials it is constructed of, whether brick or timber, iron or canvas, your home is where you spend a good portion of your life, so it should be a place where you can shut the door on the stress of the world outside, somewhere you can feel safe and content. To make it that way, by all means draw on the practicalities learned over the years, or give the principles of Feng Shui a chance to help improve your lifestyle and future prospects. Whether directions on the compass or cultural philosophies, East and West remain constant. Opposites they may seem, and both are guides to different ways of life; but whichever you choose to follow, at some stage you will meet up with the other; and if you stay on the same course for long enough, you will eventually arrive back where you started. So, be that in some country on the map, or simply a state of mind, use any means to make your life the best it can be.

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