Feng shui – it sounds like a martial art. But that assumption isn’t as far from the truth as you might think.
After all, martial arts also follow the fundamental Taoist philosophy of Qi – the idea that the land and creatures inhabiting it have spiritual energies which can be manipulated through actions in the physical world. Martial arts practitioners seek to achieve this through control of their bodies, whereas feng shui does the same through manipulation of our physical environment.
It is a 3000 year old Chinese philosophy that emerged from Chinese astronomy (astronomical instruments were utilized in many ancient feng shui practices). It translates as “wind-water”, referring to a passage written by a Taoist mystic, which stated that Qi was scattered by the wind but retained by water (Wikipedia). Chinese mystics believed that failure to respect feng shui could harm entire kingdoms, with the very space inhabited by the kingdom turning against it.
If the building of empires could be influenced by feng shui, then so could the building of companies.
Feng Shui in the Office
Positioning and structure play an important role in feng shui (fengshui.about.com).
- Poison Arrows at your Back: “Sha Chi” the attacking energy, and “Si Chi” the decaying energy; these two energies form the poisoned arrow, and they are created by sharply shaped structures (natural or man-made). So a feng shui practice would be to avoid having structures, such as a sharp-angled wall, pointing at a desk or doorway.
- The Commanding Position: Certain positions in a room carry more authority, but there is always one that is deemed the ‘commanding position’. This is usually an office in the farthest corner from the door. We see this philosophy carried out without even knowing it, as the corner office in the company is usually a symbol of high status. Feng shui practice in an office would be having one’s desk in the farthest corner, facing the door.
- The Mountain at Your Back: “Strong Feng Shui Backing” refers to being backed up by powerful energy; having your back to a mountain is seen as one of the most effective methods of achieving this. Of course, such a thing is not possible in every office location, but you often see company executives seated at a desk that faces away from a wide window overlooking tall buildings. These buildings can also form the “mountain at your back”. But in smaller offices, placing certain kinds of plants in the corner behind the desk, such as the Areca Palm or the Golden Pothos, will serve.
Quality of air and light are important elements in feng shui. Plants contribute to air quality, this has basis in science since better air quality will contribute to energy levels.
Light is the strongest manifestation of energy in Feng Shui, and the most powerful medicine, so good lighting is an essential element in a productive work space.
Finally, colors play an important role in feng shui. Each color is attributed with a certain quality, for example, red is the color of fire, an invigorating color. Yellow is sunlight, the color of joy. Blue is the color of tranquility, and so on. It’s up to the individual to make the choice, but in feng shui gray is often associated with success in careers. It’s a color of detachment, but also a color associated with sophistication.
The mastery of energy has been an idea integral to many traditional eastern practices. Can the placement of furniture really play a role in such things? Feng shui draws from thousands of years of study of astronomy, nature and physics, and Chinese and Indian cities have been designed according to feng shui principles (people.howstuffworks.com). Business practitioners truly determined to find success would do well to keep their mind open to the potential advantages in any method.
- License: Creative Commons image source
This is a guest post. Written by Matthew Flax on behalf of Now Learning, an online education portal that promotes short courses, TAFE certificates and postgraduate degrees.