I once met a woman who set off traveling around the planet with little more than the ticket to her first destination in her pocket, but she had one extraordinary skill—the ability to read people's palms—and no matter where she went, she was never short of a place to sleep or food to eat. She would pick a local restaurant or hotel, meet the manager, and offer to do palm readings for guests in return for food, shelter, or a small wage. When I met her she had been doing this for three years, had already visited more than a dozen countries, and was having the time of her life.
I have found that Feng Shui has this same universal appeal. When people discover how much their home can affect them, for better or for worse, they are usually fascinated to learn more.
The rising popularity of Feng Shui in recent years has been extraordinary. I first discovered a passion for working with energy in buildings in the late 1970s and began teaching Feng Shui publicly in 1993. When people asked me then what I did for a living and I told them, their usual response was a puzzled look and a "Feng WHAT?" Nowadays they usually nod wisely and the conversation simply glides on. Just about everyone seems to have heard something about it these days.
Feng Shui is the art of balancing and harmonizing the flow of natural energies in our surroundings to create beneficial effects in our lives. These natural energy flows were well known and understood by the ancients, and knowledge of them still exists in some cultures today. In Bali, for example, which is my home for half of each year, the people still live in total harmony with both the physical, seen world and the ethereal, unseen world of invisible energies. Daily offerings at every household shrine throughout the land and an endless procession of beautiful, powerful, and very highly evolved ceremonies in the island's twenty thousand communal temples ensures that balance and harmony is maintained. This, to me, is Feng Shui at its best—not just a set of principles applied to an individual building for a specific result but a whole island of 3 million people in tune with the sacredness of the land and living Feng Shui as a complete way of life.
My Approach to Feng Shui
My own approach to Feng Shui is rather different from that of other practitioners because I work directly with the energy of each space. Over a twenty-year period, I have developed the ability to see, hear, smell, taste, and sense energy in enhanced ways, so to begin a consultation the first thing I usually do is go around the entire inside perimeter of the building, taking an energy reading with my hands. The history of events is recorded in the walls and furniture in the form of subtle electromagnetic imprints, and through reading and interpreting these, I can detect pretty much everything of significance that has ever happened there. Traumatic or repetitive events are embedded the most deeply and have a correspondingly greater effect on present-day occupants. I am also able to find areas where the energy in the building has become stuck and determine what needs to be done to improve its flow.
Whenever I come across clutter, its energy field is unmistakable. It presents an obstacle to the flow of energy and has an unpleasant, sticky, unclean feel to it, as if I'm moving my hands through unseen cobwebs. This is what first made me realize that clutter causes problems in people's lives. It also has a distinctive, pervasive, musty odor that I can smell if I walk into someone's home, even if the clutter is hidden away from sight. Actually, if I tune in, I can also smell it in a person's aura (the energy field around the body) if he or she stands near me, because the aura becomes imbued with the smell of it. But don't worry about this if you ever meet me in person—there is so much clutter in the world that I don't tune in this way too often!
The good news is that after clearing clutter, this unwholesome, stagnant energy and accompanying odor quickly disappears.
The Feng Shui Bagua
One of the most interesting aspects of Feng Shui, and one that I will be focusing on a great deal in this book, is the Feng Shui "bagua" grid (see Chapter 8 for a simplified diagram and further information). This can be used to locate where each aspect of your life is found in any building you occupy.
For example, there is an area in your home to do with prosperity. Many people read about Feng Shui or attend a workshop on the subject, get very excited about it, and then rush to put it into practice without realizing they need to clear their clutter first. They hear they can hang a mirror in their prosperity corner to attract more wealth. But what if that area is cluttered with junk? Sadly, putting a mirror there is more likely to double their financial problems than resolve them.
This book focuses on just this one aspect of Feng Shui—clearing clutter—that is so vital to its successful application. It is the first book ever to explore this subject in depth in this context, and is intended as an ideal starter for those new to Feng Shui and an invaluable tool for those who have studied it for a while.
Throughout this book I refer mostly to applying the information around your home, but of course it can be used equally effectively in your workplace and any other building you occupy.