Terracotta soldiersToday, feng shui often comes across in bits and pieces that are taken out of context and are therefore misleading. For instance, you might hear that it is not good to live at the end of a T-intersection, or that a staircase that lines up with the front door is bad. In general, these ideas are not wrong, but they usually come with no explanation and are only a small part of the whole picture. Based on these generalizations, it is easy for people to be skeptical and question the validity of feng shui.

Not helping this skepticism is the fact that people with marketing minds treat feng shui as a commodity, selling it as a quick fix to many problems in life. Myriads of feng shui books and kits line bookstore shelves, and weekend workshops quickly turn people into certified feng shui practitioners. The theories of why and how feng shui works-- its counterparts, its effectiveness, and the depth of feng shui as a way of life-- is rarely put into the package. Consequently, when these quick fix attempts at feng shui do not work, the concept of feng shui is questioned, rather than the ability of the interpreter or applicator.

With all the confusion, there is a constant call for the scientific testing of feng shui. Just because certain things are beyond the scientific means of validity, does this mean everything outside the scientific realm does not exist? Is our vast world limited to a single perspective? It is important for us to broaden our perspective and take a look at the big picture.

There are over 130 factors, or universal phenomena, that influence our well-being.  Depending on who you are, each of these 130 factors has a different degree of influence on you. We can divide these 130 factors into two main categories: 1) predestined factors, which are unchangeable and lay the foundation, perhaps setting limits on our life; and 2) adjustable factors, which can be altered to promote our success in life.

Predestined factors are imposed upon us before we are born and include our inheritance from our parents -- their genes, state of health when they conceived us, background, social rank, and culture. Other predestined factors include our ancestral burial grounds and karma.

One of the tools used to gather information about how these factors affect you is the Chinese astrology or Zi Wei Do Shu birth chart, which is calculated from your date and time of birth. It is a statistical record of planetary configurations (cosmic energies) that exist at a specific time and has an accuracy of about 80-90%. However, it is still only one of 130 factors that influence your life.

Generally, the Zi Wei Do Shu covers 12 aspects of your life at monthly, annual, and ten-year cycles and serves as a guideline for how to proceed. These 12 aspects are personal energies, parents, siblings, spouse, career, money, travel, fortune, property, friends, health, and children. At the moment you are born into the world, your place of birth, physique, the current political/economic situation, and any negative energies are influential factors that you have little control over.

Adjustable factors can be altered and developed through various stages of your life. Some of these are internal changes that can be made within yourself. They include your personality, creativity, morale, motivation, ambition, endurance, health, aura, philosophy of life, habits, name, adaptability, posture, mannerisms, abilities for making a living, spirituality and level of subconscious development. External factors that can be changed and developed include your education, relationships, career, place of establishment, and the feng shui of your living/working environment.

Feng shui is a system of analyzing people’s energy and it is a lifestyle. It allows you to understand how to bring together various phases of energy in your environment that stimulate positive chain reactions, ultimately enabling you to live up to your fullest potential. It is important to understand that feng shui is not the only factor that brings success. The more factors that give you positive direction and promote your well-being, and the more committed your intention toward living a good life is, the better you can do. Oftentimes, when you feel you have done all you can but still feel stagnant, adjusting the energies or feng shui of your environment can give you the extra wind for smooth sailing.