The 10 common misconceptions in feng shui. I wrote this article in response to some of the more commonly misunderstood and commonly believed aspects of feng shui in order to offer a little clarity to the customers I consult and also my readers. All of the instances listed below are well-known feng shui beliefs (by even people with just passing knowledge of feng shui) although I found out most only have surface understanding and often believed at face-value, just because it was written in a book or said by someone famous. Some of the misconception had caused needless worry and in some cases panic. The problem is some of them are also perpetuated by feng shui practitioners themselves. Whether it was through erroneous knowledge or just simple misunderstanding I will never know.
The 10 common feng shui misconceptions below are the findings based on my own practical feng shui consultation experience while in the field and the actual results I got back. I hope this article can offer some clearer understanding and help clear up the confusion.
1) Doors directly facing each other will cause bad blood and quarrels
Only if one of the doors is smaller than the other and only if the doors happened to open into the negative sector of your property; plus both doors have to be open. Just having doors facing each other by itself does not create adversarial or antagonistic feelings or situations. More than anything my first reaction will be to question the character/personality of the occupants rather than the feng shui of the doors. When I was younger, I had been living in public housing where the main doors were directly opposite those of the neighbour’s in close proximity (about 2 to 3m apart). The doors are open most of the day and there were hardly any quarrels. If anything, everyone was friendly and visited each other often. And this applied to many of the neighbouring units too. Plus nowadays in the newer apartment blocks, most people will just keep their doors closed even when they are at home so it is not really a problem anymore. Having said that, it is very undesirable if yours and your neighbour’s house layout happen to be like point number 5 and you have a window-to-door-to-door-to-window arrangement. Especially when all the windows and doors are all kept open.
2) Door opening out onto a staircase and stairs going down will cause your luck to “flow” out of the house
Only if the door is very near the stairs outside and the stairs themselves are steep and long. This will create a negative feng shui feature known as “Pulling Nose Sha”. If the stairs are wide, in a gentle incline and short then we do not have this problem, at least not at a scale that’s appreciable. Or else many large hotels, shopping malls and office buildings with these features would had suffered lost and likely gone out of business a long time ago. Likewise for the people living in houses with steps lead down from their main door.
3) A house located at the end of a long road will invite bad luck for its occupants and it’s close cousin, a house located at the meeting points of a T-junction is considered extremely unlucky
Only if the road is a busy one with fast moving vehicles heading TOWARDS the house, particularly if the main door is also facing the oncoming traffic. This forms what is known as the “Rushing Qi Sha”. Often in the cul-de-sac there will be a roundabout at the end. The house located at the end of the cul-de-sac with the traffic heading AWAY from it is not likely to be affected. Often just a hedge placed on the lawn in between the offending road and the house is enough to correct the problem. Alternatively, if the road is not heavily used, has slow moving traffic and more importantly, happens to have the main door open into the house’s auspicious sector, it may actually be very prosperous for the occupants.
4) In the kitchen, the stove cannot be placed directly opposite the sink
This misconception has to do with the sentence “fire and water clash opposite each other” found in classical feng shui texts. In modern context, the belief that when the stove or microwave or oven is opposite a sink or fridge or washing machine is inauspicious (what does that even mean anyway?) is an exaggeration. Considering that in Singapore (and many Asian countries) most of our public housing is small and limited in space so the chances of having a sink and stove next to or directly opposite each other is almost a given. And if the statement “fire and water opposite each other is inauspicious” then we would see a lot of troubled families but so far in my experience any problem arising is mostly from locating the stove at the incorrect location than having it opposite a sink.
5) Wealth luck will “leak away” if there is a window directly in-line opposite the main door
Yes and no. In feng shui, Qi comes in 2 basic forms; as Sha (negative) Qi if very fast moving or Sheng (positive) Qi if slow and gentle. So if you have both the window and door open at the same time and both of them are in-line with each other, very fast moving Qi will just travel in from one end and out the other without stopping and not given a chance to “gather”. Imagine a very strong wind coming into the house then exiting the next second. But please do not misunderstand me. Having some wind blowing through your house is good as it brings in fresh Qi and moves the stagnant ones but it is quite another story to have the house feel like a wind tunnel for testing jet fighters. The issue here is the speed. Qi must be slow enough for it to be able to flow throughout the whole house to benefit the occupants before exiting again. The simplest solution to this problem is just to close either the door or the window or just place a piece of furniture like a foldable screen across the path between the door and window to slow down the Qi, forcing it to meander than to travel in a straight line.
6) Where you install you mirror and it’s size will affect your feng shui
The idea most likely came from the convex reflective surface found on a Taoist bagua mirror that the olden day Chinese used to hang above their entrances and doors to deflect negative influences. So by association, mirrors are thought to be able to reflect or deflect feng shui energy flow or Qi anywhere in the house like a beam of light. The problem is, Qi is not light. For one thing, according to classical feng shui text, Qi tends to “flow” from high to low and it “gathers” at the lowest point of any given place, very much like water does. Light does not. Another misconception is the “space” created by a mirror’s reflection can be influenced by feng shui. Such as using it to create space in order to replace a sector of the house that is physically missing. Feng shui only works in the physical realm while the mirrored space is an illusion.
7) The bed cannot have a mirror or any highly reflective surface facing it
This one is purely psychological and common sense rather than feng shui per se. When you first wake up from your sleep most likely you will be a little disoriented and your mind hazy. The first impression of someone looking back at you or in the same room as you (especially if you live alone) created by the reflection in a mirror during that mental state will definitely come as a nasty surprise for anyone. By the way, if you claim you can see images or shadows moving in your mirror even while lying in bed, then feng shui might not be your problem.
8) The bed cannot be placed against a window
Well, again yes and no. While it is generally true that you should not have your bed placed up against a window, it is not a major no-no. Other more important factors need to taken into consideration first; like not placing the bed under a ceiling beam, not placing the bed across the bedroom door or ensuite toilet door and not placing the bed within a negative sector in the bedroom. Sometimes in order to avoid these negative aspects or even just because of something mundane like space limitations within the bedroom, you have no choice but to place the bed under the window. But this is not a big issue since most people will likely have curtains or blinds installed on the windows. Just close the curtains/blinds when you go to sleep. Poof! No more problem.
9) Water is wealth
This is the worst culprit of all due to the common belief that “Water = Wealth”. This misconception perpetuated the desire for swimming pools, lakes, ponds or any large body of water in front of, or at least near, the property. Although water, if used and located correctly, can bring about wealth opportunities and sometimes windfall; if used incorrectly or located at the wrong location can bring about the opposite effect or worst. Then there are the various conditions to the types of water; is it still? Is it moving? If yes, then how fast? In feng shui, water is merely an activator. It does not create nor attract wealth by itself. And since we are on the subject of water, I might as well address the belief that the type and number of fishes you have in an aquarium will also bring wealth. In reality they do not bring wealth unless we are talking about keeping them as an investment like a prized koi or champion arrowana. Then there is the, in lieu of real water, pictures or paintings of water (often in the form of “feng shui paintings”) being used. How can a picture or photograph affect one’s feng shui since it does absolutely nothing to the Qi flow of a property? The effect is like giving a person a picture of a burger to stop his hunger when he is starving instead of the real thing. That said, like the fishes, they are fine if used as a decoration or as an investment but as a feng shui tool, the only people laughing all the way to the bank will be the sellers.
10) Feng shui will solve all my problems (and make me become rich/attract my true love/become powerful)
This is the most common expectation that I regularly have to manage with people who come to me for advice. Consider this, if that be true, feng shui practitioners will be the most powerful people on the planet, no? Anyway, feng shui is only just one third of the equation. The other two being your destiny and your own actions, or lack thereof. What good feng shui really does is to create a harmonic and conducive environment for your health, to create and increase more opportunities for love and/or wealth. Whether any of these things come true for you or not depends on what you choose to do with the opportunities and how well they come true for you will depend on your destiny. There is a Chinese saying that goes 一命二运三风水四积荫德五读书. Translated it means first destiny, second luck, third feng shui, fourth charity and fifth education. There is also a saying that goes: “Your destiny shows you the problem or potential and feng shui offers the solution to both of them”. In practice it goes like this: first know your destiny and your (level of) luck then strengthen it with feng shui, charity and education. This makes perfect sense because you need to identify the problem before you can come up with a solution, don’t you agree?
In today’s feng shui environment, erroneous information and half-baked understanding are perpetuated by the internet, books and even teachers; often “parroting” from other magazines, books and teachers, and the cycle goes on. Even so, we work hard to keep our courses and workshops practical, logical and based on actual experiences. If you want to know what practical feng shui is and are interested, please drop me a line in the comments box below or write to me on my email and I well get back to you with the details. By the way, in addition to feng shui workshops in Singapore, we also have Astrology workshops in Bali, Indonesia. You can reach me at firstname.lastname@example.org
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