Is Feng Shui out of sync with the times?

The most common criticism leveled at feng shui is that it is out of step with the times. Architects and home designers often balk and look up when feng shui is mentioned, saying it is an outdated practice that has no relevance in our contemporary world of science and progress. That’s very polite because I’ve heard worse.

It’s hard and there’s really no point debating that. The Chinese have a phrase that goes like this: why bother when teaching yourself would only make you smarter. Hmm…

The community thrives when it is protected from the elements and nature. Take a look at today’s news. We have tsunamis and typhoons that have left lives shattered and entire villages buried. These are nature at its most destructive. Would feng shui have helped? Yes, he would have.

It may not be obvious, but the first role of feng shui in creating new settlements or cities is site selection. This is something not to be taken lightly, as it could mean the safety or annihilation of the entire community.

If you have the opportunity to visit the ancient cities of Luoyang, Changan, Xian, Beijing and other ancient cities in China, please take a good look. Taste the local food, of course, but see how cities are designed and built.

These cities are designed like a chessboard. The paths intersect in an orderly manner and the houses generally follow the courtyard layout. The reason behind all this is the ease of movement and the maximum capture of air and natural light in addition to attending to the activities of the inhabitants.

The orientations along with the construction are such that they provide relief during the heat and humidity of summer and fall, as well as offer protection from the cold of harsh winters.

Fire and wind chill prevention? Subtly, feng shui is applied. For example, the group houses are separated by brick walls. In the old days, wood was the main building material and with the use of oil lamps and candles, fire was a major danger. These walls act as fire barriers.

The bathroom areas and kitchen area are generally zoned to the east or west, minimizing contamination of the centrally located living space.

Physical exercises have even been thought of (think tai chi or shadow boxing) with the incorporation of ming tang. Some have translated this as the shining hall, but the source of qi would be more accurate.

There are other aspects of deeper feng shui, and a keen eye could identify them. It is actually a great opportunity to observe how the alignment of streets and gates is built to allow for adjustments through the cycles while making the house a private, comfortable and prosperous place to live.

Feng shui isn’t limited to new age stuff, and hopefully this short piece of writing manages to suggest that.

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