While in a desperate attempt to “clean house” before Chinese New Year, an old book purchased decades ago revealed itself. It was as if it the gods were telling me that perhaps the house needs more than a mere “cleaning.” However, since remodeling is not in my stars at the moment, I figured leafing through an encyclopedia of feng shui wouldn’t hurt!
Nope, my house will not be transformed into “house beautiful” any time soon, but following are some tips that might help in planning for it.
For the uninitiated, feng shui is the age-old Chinese system for arranging one’s surroundings to achieve harmony and balance. “Feng” is “wind,” and “shui” is “water.” The practice of feng shui is based on three principles: chi (life force of all animate objects), Tao (the way to order our lives to live in harmony with nature) and the yin and yang (the positive and negative forces that are in constant motion to gain dominance).
A basic tool used by feng shui practitioners is the bagua, the octagon chart that maps out the areas of the house to determine optimal placement of furniture and the use of colors. Incorrect placement will have a negative impact on the nine areas of the residents’ lives: power and wealth, reputation, relationships, creativity, compassion, career, knowledge, family and balance.
To complicate matters,there is more than one bagua. A novice asked the following question on a feng shui forum: I am totally confused about the bagua. If I apply the Western bagua, my career is at the main door. If I apply the classical Chinese bagua, my career is in the bathroom! Which bagua works better?
There is no denying that music alters moods. But what about the sound of gongs? A former New York oncologist began using sound therapies to help his cancer patients overcome pain and became a gong bath devotee.
Gongs emit one of the most sonorous sounds of any musical instrument. Their transformational and therapeutic sound is the basis of gong baths, where participants are “bathed” is the gongs’ sound waves, cleansing the subconscious mind to bring about healing. And no, there is no water involved.
Sound therapy has been known to improve symptoms associated with stress, migraines, depression and lack of concentration and focus. Gong baths are quickly gaining a following in Hong Kong. Following a day’s work in that bustling city, Hong Kongers are now turning to gong baths for achieving a state of relaxation.
Gong baths use the vibrations of sound and frequency emitted from gongs to help reduce anxiety, stress and release repressed emotions. The theory is that the sound emanating from the gong will infiltrate your outer consciousness and penetrate your core, disconnecting you from the superficial world and all the cacophony associated with it. Unlike therapy, which requires talking about your problems, a gong bath offers the opposite experience. It uses no words, and requires no effort on the participants. It is particularly helpful for those who find forming and articulating words difficult. Your body surrenders to sound, helping to clear any “blockage” and may help you find the words you’re looking for.