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Feng Shui, Vastu, & Wabi-Sabi: How to Choose a Sacred Space Design System

 feng shui, vastu, wabi-sabi, and wu wei

Feng Shui (pronounced "Fung Shway") is a popular interior design system from China that is literally translated as "wind and water." Since ancient China had a strong tradition of ancestor worship, Feng Shui was originally intended for ideal placement of gravesites so that people could gain the most benefit from their pleased ancestors. This later developed into a system of placement for homes and other buildings.

Vastu, which is thousands of years older than Feng Shui, is part of Feng Shui's origin. Emperor Ashoka of India sent scholars to Southeast Asia and East Asia to spread the great wisdom traditions of India as a gift to enhance local indigenous traditions.

Like Vastu, Feng Shui's intention is to enable optimal beneficial results in life and the healthy, unobstructed flow of ch'i, or "universal life energy," within a space. Vastu's name for chi, this sparkly life energy, is prana. In Japan prana has traditionally been known as ki.

Today there are several popular schools of Feng Shui and more books than one could possibly read, many of which seem to contradict each other. Feng Shui has much to offer; but after careful study, research, and practice, Sherri vastly prefers Vastu, the sacred space system from the Vedic tradition in India. Vastu is both spiritually and scientifically based and universally applicable. Vastu is more profound in its effects than Feng Shui. Vastu works with the subtle laws of nature that govern creation. Vastu aligns buildings with universal energies: the five elements, beneficial earth energies, and cosmic forces.

There are some overlaps or congruences between Feng Shui and Vastu. There are also major differences. Transcendence Design uses only those practical elements of Feng Shui that are harmonious with Vastu and that Sherri has found to be effective in her own home and those of her clients.

Vastu is compatible with the goals and intentions of Wabi Sabi, the Japanese aesthetic philosophy that values elegance, beauty, serenity, simplicity, a meditative quality,and appreciation of and connection with nature. Both systems view beauty as an essential component. The sadness and melancholy sometimes associated with wabi-sabi is not something supported by Vastu, but its true underlying meaning is realized even more through Vastu.

Wabi Sabi's embrace of the impermanence of this world is a spiritual and physical truth. Vastu acknowledges that everything is always changing, but it also connects your home with the unchanging source of all manifestation and even considers that buildings have a lifespan. As the spiritual energy of Wabi Sabi suggestions, there is no true "perfection" in this life; yet buildings designed according to Vastu retain the precise perfection inherent in the laws of nature and the subtle mechanics of creation. This mathematical perfection allows us greater connection with nature and greater inner freedom and spiritual experience, the underlying goal of wabi-sabi. Both Vastu and Wabi Sabi include beauty, honoring of nature, and use of natural materials as necessary ingredients.

Likewise, Vastu guidelines support the Taoist concept of Wu Wei, which is based on the ability to intuit placement that creates a good flow of energy and is in alignment with the Tao. Since the Tao and pure consciousness, the source of the creation process and laws of nature, are different expressions of the same universal consciousness, Vastu is in agreement with Wu Wei.

If you appreciate Chinese, Japanese, or African style, there is no conflict with Vastu guidelines. All parts of our world value serenity, spirituality, connection to nature, and beauty. The aesthetics, textiles, and furniture of China, Japan, or any culture can be incorporated into a Vastu home. How you decorate your Vastu home can certainly involve the expressive variations and "imperfections" of handmade objects revered by Wabi Sabi. Likewise, Transcendence Design can consult on Japanese, Chinese, or other styles of gardens that comply with Vastu recommendations, honor the laws of nature, and thus create greater support, abundance, success, tranquility, and harmony in your life.

"Move over, feng shui; vastu shastra is on the rise." Read the article from The Santa Fean Magazine.
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