Often, I am approached by people at my seminars and talks, who are very interested in Feng Shui, but are intimidated by the idea of lots of formulas, and mugging information. Or they think it is a seriously complex field of study that is dry and extremely tedious. Actually in fact, there's a lot of excitement and adventure in Feng Shui! Learning and researching Feng Shui is not about being trapped in a library full of dusty books or slogging away in a classroom. On the contrary, learning Feng Shui involves a lot of observation and adventure. That's why I encourage my students to Walk the Mountains and Chase the Dragons - to go out, look at the mountains and rivers, observe buildings and be curious about everything.
Up the mountain, down the river
Researching and studying Feng Shui is like being Indiana Jones - there are no rickety bridges to cross or gun-totting characters that cross our paths, but there's quite a bit of adventure, travel, and detective work involved. Finding and studying interesting Feng Shui formations has taken me to a lot of places that probably most people wouldn't go. Occasionally it's quite exciting. Going to the rooftop of the world in Tibet in search of Heavenly Pool Water and breathing canned oxygen all the way just to get a glimpse of the unique High Level Dragons that are found in Tibet was definitely an adventure, not just for me, but for my students who went to Tibet with me this year.
Sometimes however, quite a lot of detective work and legwork is needed to discover interesting Feng Shui spots and locations, especially those with historical significance. For example, searching for the Yin House locations of great leaders and historical figures in China takes a lot of effort. This year, I took a group of my students to audit the Yin House Feng Shui of Chiang Kai Shek, the founder of Taiwan. In order to find Chiang's ancestral tombs (specifically that of his parents), I spent a lot of time tramping around the backwater and provincial areas of Zhejiang in China (braving the famous Chinese toilets!) and practicing my Mandarin talking to the locals, in order to ascertain the location of the ancestral tombs.
Researching Feng Shui also throws up lots of red herrings so one has to not just be a detective, but you've also got to piece together the information with the history and also, snippets of information from the locals. Going to Chiang's ancestral home is often misleading if you're not familiar with the history of his family or don't pay attention to the little details. Many Feng Shui enthusiasts who visit the Chiang family home are usually not able to see why Chiang managed to rise up and become such a great leader. This is because whilst the Feng Shui of the Chiang ancestral home is reasonably good, with the forms showing a Literary Arts Star and a Tan Lang General Star at the Direct Spirit Location, it's not the sort of formation that can produce a powerful leader.
The answer to the conundrum is rather simple. Chiang never made use of the Feng Shui in his ancestral home. He was not born in the family ancestral home (he was born in the family salt store), and while he inherited the ancestral home as the 2nd son, he didn't live there. During his rise to power, Chiang lived in a different residence with his wife, Soong May Ling. Now, that home has a General Seat Star interlocking the Water Mouth, resulting in a Sleeping Bow Water (Mian Gung Shui) Formation. The property is also flanked by Ju Men Mountains nearby, producing power, status and authority.
Looking without seeing
Let's say you're not into checking out Yin House Feng Shui and not into going around the countryside looking for the tombs of long-dead people. If you are into cosmopolitan cities perhaps, or you like shopping, you can also learn a little Feng Shui in your favourite locations. All you have to do is - look. Yes, just look!
What makes Oxford Street in England and the Champ D'Elysee in Paris a highly sought out real-estate location, have you ever wondered? Whenever I visit a new city on a research mission, I always make it a point to either take a helicopter ride or go up to a vantage point like a tower to have a look at the city and its central business districts or shopping areas. This gives me a vantage of the macro landforms that are influencing the Qi of the area. After I've seen it from the top, then I walk around the area. I look to see the little hills in the distance, and undulating landscape of these areas and see if there's water coming in from the right direction. And the best part is, it never feels like work!
Even a visit to the mall can be an informative Feng Shui exercise. Ever wonder why a particular mall is perennially busy and others can barely get a decent crowd in on a weekend? Chances are, it's not just the shops. It's the Feng Shui. Are there mountain and water forms in the vicinity? Or is it in a flat location? Does the mall appear dark and gloomy, even on a bright day and with plenty of windows to let in the sunlight?
In Feng Shui, it is important that buildings have natural light; otherwise, the building becomes very Yin. Now, logically having enough windows should enable the building to have natural light in abundance, correct? But if you visit certain malls or apartment buildings, despite having lots of windows, it's still gloomy or very Yin. And it certainly doesn't put anyone in the mood for shopping.
Why does your favourite store seem to be floundering despite its great product or items? Take a look at the location. Is there a big lamp post at the entrance? Is it under the escalator? Is the entrance low, suppressing the door? The Main Door is an important aspect of the Feng Shui of any property because that is where the property receives its Qi. So we don't like any blockage at the Main Door.
By observing and looking at the doors and Main Entrances, and looking at the roads and walkways, corridors and pathways, you can figure out how the Forms are affecting the Feng Shui of a property. And this is the same everywhere around the world - in Hong Kong, in Singapore, in Japan, in America, or in Europe. The forms always repeat themselves, whether deliberately or inadvertently. Even if you don't know how to fly the stars using Xuan Kong Feng Shui or if you aren't that good with memorising formulas, just looking can be informative. Feng Shui doesn't have to be all serious and stuffy - it can be fun, and it can be an adventure too!
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