By Kathryn Weber
A walk in the country or hiking a hilly trail can make us feel more in tune with ourselves. It also gives us an opportunity to connect with nature, awakening our personal chi.
The trees, grass, stones and blue sky give us a comforting relief from the unnatural environment of fluorescent lighting, malls and office cubicles.
But our connection with nature might have something more in common with our office cubicle than with a giant Sequoia tree. That connection we have explains much of the foundation of feng shui, the Chinese study of how our environment affects our lives.
All of feng shui is based on the study of the energy in our environment.
That unseen energy is called qi, or “chi.” The energy of chi is everywhere, and it’s the quintessential energy of nature.
Like our offices with their wires and signals, the environment of nature is filled with more than grass and trees. Nature and our homes are also alive with the unseen. That is, the moving, flowing, unseen energy of chi.
It’s this energy that, when awakened, flowing smoothly and harmoniously, creates those spaces in nature and our homes – that we respond to and enjoy the most.
The natural world is full of energy that exists, energy such as gravity or air. These two elements, in particular, of the natural world are ones that keep us alive and able to breathe and keep our feet on the ground.
In short, nature relies on principles that do not ever waver.
When streams flow smoothly and gently, life around them is able to exist peacefully and prosperously. When we alter these streams with a boulder, damming projects or other impacts, we alter the natural flow. Feng shui teaches us that when entrances, rooms, desks or any space where we live are alive with the flowing rhythms of nature, we also live more peacefully and prosperously.
Keeping entrances and exits free from obstruction keeps the chi energy in our homes and offices freely flowing.
When we have homes arranged in the ways of nature and arranged so that there is freedom of movement and chi, we are more in tune with nature and our homes feel that way for us. Houses that employ feng shui enable us to feel less disconnected to the outer world because our inner world exists harmoniously with the outer world.
That’s why using feng shui indoors makes so much sense and explains the long history that the Chinese have of using feng shui: it allows us to live indoors and still maintain a connection to world outside our doors, and perhaps more importantly, with the true natural world of smooth, flowing energy of chi.
Feng shui seeks to align homes and structures so that they are alive and in harmony with the chi of nature.
Even though most of us spend most of our time indoors, it doesn’t mean that we have to lose our connection with natural chi. By mimicking nature in our homes and offices, we can lessen the impact that our unnatural world has on us and feel more rested and calm, the way we do when we are in nature.
Feng shui offers us that opportunity.
When we work to remove clutter, the way trees lose their leaves each year, and we allow space for energy to flow smoothly around our desks or beds in each room similar to the smooth way a river flows, we are connected to chi.
That’s because sleep allows us to re-connect to our spirit selves. When we sleep well, we feel more at peace, are at ease, and have a greater sense of well-being that feeds our spirit and bodies. Our bodies hold our spirit, but our homes hold our bodies – and that makes our home, our larger body by extension.
In recent years the importance of having natural elements around us, such as wood floors, natural stone countertops and even indoor fountains, has become a design and decorating imperative. We’ve learned that by removing ourselves from nature and natural elements, we are out of sync with our own natural energy and that makes us fatigued, stressed, upset.
But feng shui encourages us to bring the spirit of nature into our homes.
Now, our environments are beginning to bring elements of the outside in and we are bringing our indoor environments outdoors. More and more we are seeing that the line between outside and inside is growing thinner. By adding elements such as stones, fountains and plants in our homes, we honor the spirit of nature and reinforce our connectedness with the natural world. Creating natural pockets of stones, fountains and plants in our home, we reconnect to nature, perhaps more importantly, to ourselves.
We also strengthen our homes – and that brings us abundance of the three wealths of radiant physical and mental health, financial benefits and opportunities, and emotional satisfaction and contentment – more often called health, wealth and happiness.
If we can make our indoor world reflect more of the harmony of the natural world, then we have taken a big step toward awakening our home’s inherent chi. Doing so creates an environment in our home that supports, nurtures and sustains us. That connection is vital and when it exists, our life is simply better.