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To consult or not to consult ?

Monday, September 26, 2005
By: Joey Yap

By now, many of you readers may have already caught my Discover Feng Shui with Joey Yap program that is on at 11pm every Sunday night on 8TV. On the show, I ask my viewers to send in their questions, so that I can answer them in the next episode.

It might surprise you that one of the most frequent question I get is, “How do I know what to expect from a Feng Shui consultation? How do I know if the consultant is for real?”.

This, I thought, would make an excellent topic for my article this week; what exactly does a Feng Shui consultation involve? Do you need one? How do you get one? And what to expect.

In Search of the Real McCoy

Perhaps one of the most troubling dilemmas is this; how do we know that the person we just hired to inspect the Feng Shui of our property, is for real?
The answer is simple. The same way you would look for a reliable doctor. You check their qualifications.

You ask for their background, their qualifications (on the subject of Feng Shui – what system of Feng Shui they apply), level of experience, affiliation and references. Just like you would when looking for any other service provider. There are many consultants around these days, so shop around. Ask and talk to people who have had consults done for references.

Tell the consultant why you are looking for a consultation; check if he is confident in handling your case. Sometimes an inexperienced Feng Shui consultant may not be able to handle a very complex case. And they will tell you. For instance, some Feng Shui consultants are experts in auditing Yin Houses (grave yards), but the can't do houses. Or they might be experts in handling landed houses but aren't so good at handling condominiums or apartments. (Didn't you know that there are specialists in the practice of Feng Shuitoo?)

One the other hand, if you don't really have a problem, if things are going really well in your life – you DON'T need a consultation. Undertake a Feng Shui consultation because there is an aspect of your life you would like to improve – not just to keep up with the Jones.

Spotting a Quack

If he steps out of his car looking like a character from an episode of X-Files, you need to be wary. Most Feng Shui consultants go to work the very same way you would – in professional office attire. He definitely does not strut out in flowing robes like he might have just come from a Jedi Council meeting, sporting an incense instead of a light saber.

The next giveaway is usually his advice to ‘enhance' or ‘activate' every sector of your home with some specific item. Conveniently enough, he will have most of these items right in the trunk of his car, or a large suitcase he may bring along.

In case you find yourself being the recipient of such bad news as, ‘your house is infested with bad Qi' or worse, haunted and you will need to pay a princely sum to have it all fixed. And bad things happen to people who don't get this ‘infestation' taken care of, he will warn you. This is a typical scare tactic con artists deploy, so beware.

Another typical type are those who will tell you that they have created billionaires and that it is your ‘good fortune' to have met him or her on that day. This always fascinates me – if a Feng Shui Master can create billionaires, why on earth is he still slogging away doing a Feng Shui consultation for you? Why doesn't he just make himself a billionaire? I am more surprised by the fact that not many people challenge this claim made by the so-called Feng Shui practitioner.

What's in a Feng Shui Consult?

A proper Feng Shui Consult will often first involve the inspection of your External Environment prior to taking a look at the internal layout of your home. If you're wondering why, it's because Qi originates from your external environment, it is NOT manifested inside your home or from any objects or corners inside.

Your consultant needs to verify where this Qi is from before he is able to determine how he will harness it to benefit your home.

Internally, he would usually use the Eight Mansions, Xuan Kong Flying Stars or Xuan Kong Da Gua systems of Feng Shui. (There are other branches of classical Feng Shui systems too, you can ask him what he practices).  You would have seen him calculating or working with an energy map of your home after taking the relevant measurements and directions – this is also known as the Natal Charts of your home and may look to you like a tic-tac-toe grid with numbers in each of the boxes. Sometimes the calculation may look pretty complicated involving several trigrams from the Yi Jing (Da Gua) method of assessment.
If he comes right in, walks around, starts telling you about colors and décor – congratulations, you've just hired yourself an Interior Decorator. Not a Feng Shui consultant.

A genuine Feng Shui consultant will also ask for the date and time of birth for residents living in the house, or if its and office, the birth data of key personnel. This is used to calculate a BaZi or Destiny Chart. This is how a Feng Shui practitioner DIAGNOSES his patients (residents of the property) before making out his prescription (Feng Shui remedies). If you don't see his analysis of your BaZi – ask him what method he is using to diagnose your problems – chances are you might not be getting the right prescription.

What Should You Prepare?

I do understand that many people fear bringing in a Feng Shui consultant because they might be told they need to undertake massive renovations or are forced to buy things that they don't need.

A proper Feng Shui consultation does not always involve renovations, there are usually many alternatives that can be explored. It all depends on the skill level of your Feng Shui practitioner.
Classical Feng Shui remedies are usually very subtle, for example, changing your sleeping direction, changing rooms , positioning of water features or realigning your working desk. A good consultant will even be able to tell you what measures you can physically or mentally undertake to cope with the effects your Feng Shui in case you could not adjust your house's interior due to constraints. What I mean by this is “actions” taken to fix a problem that might be evident presently or sometime in the near future due to the Qi of the house.

A thorough consultation should always be done in various stages. You meet up with the consultant to discuss your scope of work, he will then come to your property to inspect it, after which a summary of the consultation is prepared and you would then meet up with him again to be briefed on the findings of your property. It should take about two to three weeks for the complete consultation, unless there is a real urgent rush on your part.

Could a consultation be done in two hours? Of course, but expect a really rush job. With no proper report and mostly verbal communication on what needs to be done. Don't be surprised if you forget what your consultant told you during the consultation. This is the reason why Feng Shui consultants today prepare proper reports and maintain documentation. You can even engage your consultant to work hand-in-hand with your Interior Designer or Architects, saving you the hassle of being the go-between and the risk of miscommunication.

I hope this has helped answer your questions, provided you with a guideline on Feng Shui consultations and set your mind at ease. I will have another interesting article for you next week, so do watch this space.

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