Who Moved My Books?

     “If you continue to use the floor as your book stand, I am going to throw out all your books!”

     My mother must have lost her patience again over her constant reminders for me not to leave books on the floor. Despite having a big desk that appears to be enormous in my bedroom, it never seems big enough to hold all my textbooks. I didn’t understand why my mom was constantly getting upset. In hindsight, I do recall hearing lines like “It’s bad feng shui” or “you’re obstructing the flow of 氣 (qi)” but I never fully understood what that really meant until I decided to search it up when I was reprimanded yet again.

     Feng shui (风水), is a commonly heard phrase that literally translates to “wind and water.” Feng shui is defined as an ancient Chinese art and science of the placement of furniture and others that help create a positive flow of good energy throughout a space.  So, what does feng shui have anything to do with wind and water? Well, both wind and water are two natural elements on Earth and are needed for life. They flow together and the proper flow is believed to have enriched our lives in a majority of ways. This flow is also known as “” which is also written as “qi” or “chi.”  This was what my mother was referring to. The books I stack up on the floor creates a bad flow of 气 and therefore creates bad 风水.

     Originating in Chinese astronomy around 6,000 years ago, the art of feng shui has grown and traveled so far around the world. Ever since then, feng shui has been practiced by many famous people.

     Encompassing many different factors, the practice of feng shui is a serious part of one’s decision when decorating a room or even purchasing a home.  Many people believe that feng shui actually helps bring good fortune and luck since it creates a balance between the feminine, or the yin (阴), and the masculine, or the yang (阳). These little different arrangements of furniture and colors can affect how one thinks or acts in both one’s personal and professional life.  The placement of mirrors is another example of such.

     There are so many different “rules” for creating the best feng shui.  One of the basic steps for having great feng shui is to prevent clutter ( e.g. no books on floor, under the bed etc.)  Clutter prevents the proper flow of qi.  You will notice that when a Chinese family purchases a new home, they ask or look into certain aspects that are new to us, feng shui is the answer.  What direction does the house face?  Situated in the North and facing the South is ideal, known as 坐北向南。Having bright and open spaces that can allow natural sunlight to flow through is another critical aspect.  Your front entrance should not be facing a big tree outside nor directly facing a flight of stairs.  It will be hard work trying to sell a T-intersection house as the qi will be rushing fiercely into the house, hence has negative impact.  If the front entrance forms a straight line to the backyard door, wealth (财) will flow (流出) away easily.  As for the bedroom, the bed should be placed diagonally across from the entrance, and mirrors should not be hung where reflections could be seen when sleeping.  This is used to help avoid sleep disruptions. Some people even use feng shui tools such as the feng shui compass and the bagua.  The bagua, or the energy map, is a grid including the symbols that feng shui is based on. For example, there is a career area, health and family area, and many more that can help one better understand the sections of one’s home and life. The feng shui compass, on the other hand, is used to understand and seek deeper information about buildings or just mysteries in general.

     Now, take a good look at the things around you.  Do you see anything that you can do to improve the flow of 气 and make the 风水 of your place better? As for me, I have diligently put my books away and cleaned out everything underneath my bed. Hopefully that will help me do better on my test tomorrow!








There are 16 comments

  1. Tiffany C.

    Great article! This was very informative. I can relate to this because my parents mentioned feng shui a lot when we were moving to a new house. Now, I finally understand why it was so important to them. Thanks for sharing!

  2. Michael P.

    Great article! I had no idea that bad feng shui meant that the flow of water and wind was being obstructed! I will be sure never to leave my textbooks on the floor again.

  3. Nicholas Yum

    Feng shui is something my mother really loves. She emphasizes living a balanced life and conforming to the rules of feng shui. Each and every aspect of our house has to be perfectly in accordance with feng shui. Great work, Hitomi!

  4. 安世璘

    Living in Asia for more than a decade, I’ve seen how so many people in China (and Korea also!!) get their houses or place their furniture depending on the feng shui of the region. This phenomenon is usually observed among people of older generations. Although the concept of feng shui may be complicated and intangible, it is surely a distinctive cultural legacy from our ancestors.

  5. Logan C

    This is very cool. I have heard the term ¨feng shui¨ before but didn´t really know what it meant. I will make sure not to be a T-intersection house!

  6. Jeff Bao

    Wow, Hitomi! This article was really detailed and interesting. I never knew what “feng shui” is but now I do and it is very interesting! Overall, Great Job!

  7. Matthew L.

    I enjoyed reading your article very much, Hitomi. I use the euphemism “feng-shui” quite often, and now I know the origin of this. Thank you for sharing!

  8. Halle Fishman

    Great article! I didn’t know that bad feng shui meant that the flow of water and wind was being obstructed. I learned a lot from reading this.

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