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Objects and the put Theory

Sunday, August 27, 2006
By: Joey Yap

One of the most popular questions I get asked, in emails, as well as at public events, is this: Joey - what do you PUT in your office? Of course, the answer that I don't 'put' anything in my office is a bit of a surprise to them. How can I not have anything in my office for wealth enhancement, or health improvement or warding off the 5 yellow star?

Indeed, visitors to my office are often surprised at my unlikely collection of 'Feng Shui charms and cures' - they include a piece of abstract art (which I have absolutely no idea what it means!), Spiderman figures, a collector's edition Darth Vader figurine and collectible figures from my favourite Japanese anime, Naruto. And no, before you go out and buy some on eBay, these are not Qi-collecting or Sha Qi-defusing objects. I have them because I like them and I get some amusement from looking at them sometimes in my office.

Clients are often perturbed when I have no specific recommendations on colours, objects to be placed in certain places and items to ward off negative Qi. But the truth is the practice of classical Feng Shui entails very little 'putting' if you like. A classical Feng Shui practitioner will rarely ask you put something in your room or wear something. Indeed, if they ask you to do this and promptly open up their car boot to reveal their 'feng shui' wares in six colours (to match your sofa) or usher you into a storeroom with ornaments in every size and incarnation, you should be a little suspicious.

Real Classical Feng Shui is Invisible Feng Shui

I do not advocate 'putting objects' as part of Feng Shui for several reasons. Firstly, classical Feng Shui, practiced at its highest level, is completely subtle and nuanced. If you, the average layperson, enter a building and you KNOW it's been Feng Shui-ed, then the Feng Shui practitioner has probably failed in his/her job. The purpose of Feng Shui is to enable natural energies in the environment to be tapped for beneficial, productive use by the residents of the building or the area. It is not to turn your home into a Chinese restaurant and it certainly does not involve strange interior decoration ideas.

In classical Feng Shui practice, the goal is to make use of the good areas, and reduce the usage of the negative areas, while ensuring there is good Qi collection and distribution. Those of you who have been following my articles will know that this does not necessarily require a mountain-load of doohickeys and objects.

The essence of classical Feng Shui practice in the 21st century involves understanding modern life and then integrating Feng Shui into that. For example, in the old days, artwork or perhaps, a fine vase or antique would draw people into a room in someone's house. The Feng Shui practitioner would advice the house owner to place this object in a certain room so that more people would enter and mingle about the room. Now, the Feng Shui practitioner's objective is to encourage greater usage of the room, and to achieve that, he used something subtle like the beautiful vase, knowing that if he told the house owner to just 'use the room more' he would get a blank look. Unfortunately, people then assumed that it was the vase which was supplying the Feng Shui, instead of the room. In modern times, to encourage greater use of certain rooms, Feng Shui practitioners might suggest a client use the room for television viewing, or perhaps as a living room or entertainment area.

Secondly, if you are to utilise Feng Shui for a business advantage, obviously, you do not want too many people to know you have this advantage, correct? Now, logically, when your office screams 'Feng Shui', not only will other parties know that the business or person is using Feng Shui, but technically, they would also be able to 'defeat' or nullify that Feng Shui advantage. You can just imagine it now - business rivals nullifying or countering each other's Feng Shui with their own cures, or going into a business negotiation and getting an upper advantage by wearing a cure that 'defeats' the other side's Feng Shui. If this boggles the mind, and sounds downright ludicrous, it is! That is why object-based Feng Shui does not really make sense.

Put Theory Breeds Paranoia

Another reason why I am not a proponent of the Put Theory is because it encourages people to be paranoid, and unjustifiably place inordinate amounts of faith in an object. Classical Feng Shui does not involve being afraid, nor does it involve worshiping an object. It is about the natural energies in the environment, pure and simple.

Check the ancient classics if you have doubt, none of these books prescribe the need to use an artefact to ward off bad Qi or to generate wealth out of thin air. Many ancient classics like Qing Nang Jing (Green Satchel), Di Li Bian Zheng (Discerning Truth of Earth Principles) and Ru Di Yan (Entering Earth Eye) are reproduced in their original texts by many Hong Kong and Taiwanese researchers. You can find them in many Chinese bookstores. These books document the practice and study of Feng Shui since the Tang Dynasty. Read them and you'd discover that these books don't mention anything about the Put Theory.

When people objectify Feng Shui, they become ruled by the object that they believe encapsulates their good luck or bad luck as it were. This encourages superstition and a closed-mind. A person can't move out of a house because, oh, it's been good for 20 years, so let's not move, even if the new place is better from a classical Feng Shui standpoint. Similarly, by letting an object become the basis for a person's success, it encourages people to believe that there is a stairway to riches, as long as they have the right object, and not with good old fashioned hard work. No need to work hard, or think about whether you are doing the right thing, or in the right line. Just place [insert favourite wealth-making object] in your personal Wealth or Lucky corner and watch the money grow.

There is no 'one object that rules them all' when it comes to classical Feng Shui. Tapping into Qi can be done through a variety of subtle means, depending on what technique the Feng Shui practitioner wants to employ, and what options the area and environment, as well as the forms, indicate can be used. Sometimes it involves the placement of Water in certain locations, more often than not, it is about avoiding the use of areas with strong Sha Qi or afflicted by Sha Qi and using the areas with positive Qi.

Sometimes, a problem is not related to Feng Shui, but just the luck cycle the person is in, based on his/her Destiny Chart. If that is the case, than an object is even more unlikely to be able to help the person. Think about it: how can a pendant with a dragon or a rooster, help prevent a problem that is caused by the shifts in energy, brought upon by the planetary movements? Are we saying that a mere pendant can change the course of the planetary influence or alter the magnetic pull of the planets on the Earth? Obviously not. Nothing is going to shift the energies, but your own actions can help reduce the impact of whatever influence the energies are creating. For example, if as a result of the elemental energies of the Bing Xu (Fire Dog) year, you are having problems with your boss, then you need to either moderate your behaviour towards your superior, or keep a low profile this year to avoid making the situation worse. Wearing a pendant or keeping a rooster on your table is not going to work unless these objects remind you to mind your manners with your boss!

What about the Hu Lu and Windchime?

In select and rare instances, specific items, which have a clear elemental connection, are sometimes used by some classical Feng Shui practitioners to resolve certain problems. One form of cure, which actually has a proper basis in classical Feng Shui, is the use of the Hu Lu, commonly known as the Calabash in English. It is a real fruit (a Gourd, to be exact) and was originally used by Chinese herbalists as a container for medicine. Being a fruit that exists in nature, it is regarded as having natural Qi and so is sometimes used by Feng Shui practitioners. The fruit itself has two sections and has an opening on top. The dual-sections represent Heaven and Earth while the opening on top means that it belongs to the Trigram Dui.

In the study of classical Feng Shui, Dui Gua or Dui Trigram, belongs to the element of Metal and also is the #7 star. Typically you hear people using the calabash to help with illness but most people don't know why. #2 is the sickness or illness star, and in He Tu numerology, #7 and #2 combines. Hence, the use of the Hu Lu to defuse the negative Qi of the #2 star. However, this technique can only be utilised when an actual real grown by Mother Nature gourd is used, and not a resin or plastic version! While this is not my preferred technique generally, I am not opposed to its use.

Another acceptable 'object' that is typically used in some classical Feng Shui practice is the windchime. It is used to introduce the element of Metal into an area. Again, this is fine as long as it is a windchime that is actually made from Metal. However, if you find you don't like the noise, you can actually use anything metal - pewter ware or your old sports trophies for example. I know some practitioner friends who insist on using real 24 carat gold items to utilise the real effects of Metal Qi! I personally would prefer not to resort to the use of elemental cures and try to keep things as 'natural' as possible. If the Qi flow is already good, often, no cure or object is needed.

All classical Feng Shui practitioners have their own style and pet methods. There is nothing wrong with using a Hu Lu or windchime, as long as it's clear why it is being used and it relates to the true elemental nature of the item, and not just the imagery and pure 'put theory'!

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