Thursday, January 27, 2000
Houston, Texas
Volume 65, Issue 82

Cougar Comics Online
Different UH Buildings showcase positive and negative forms of Chinese Feng Shui

About the Cougar

Living by Feng Shui

By Allison Dinelli
News Writer

Take a quick look around. Your lack of metal and water could be adversely affecting your environment. That appalling test score you have been agonizing over could be due in part to poor Feng Shui. A simple tweak of the couch and a nice red rug paired with a breathtaking metal sculpture could be all you need to thrust yourself into the ch'i -centered realm of wealth, fame, knowledge and self-cultivation.

"What most people don't understand is that your space doesn't have to look like a tacky Chinese restaurant to have good Feng Shui," Lorraine Wilcox, L. Ac. of the American Feng Shui Institute said.

Photo by Travis Howell

The Ezekiel W. Cullen Building's main entrance, pointed roof, landscape and fountains give off positive ch'i with a good balance of earth and water.

"Feng Shui is merely the Chinese art of placement dealing with the five elements -- wood, fire, metal, water and earth. Shiny icons inside hanging paper lanterns have nothing to do with anything except bad interior design."

The future often takes its cues from the past; many of the popular alternative health practices have their roots in ancient Chinese knowledge, and Feng Shui is no exception.

In recent years, Americans have become increasingly curious and open-minded about the benefits of Feng Shui. Many Americans who employ the technique report better, more successful business and better love lives. Western science can not explain how it works, its effectiveness in harmonizing environments is undeniable.

The basic premise of this ancient Chinese eco-art is that "every building located in harmony with nature and arranged for comfort, security and vitality will become a source of well-being and prosperity for its occupants," Seann Xenja, a Feng Shui practitioner, said. "Living and working in places that reflect imbalance can cause or exacerbate many of the problems and stress of modern life."

Underlying the principles of Feng Shui is the concept of ch'i -life energy. This energy fills the atmosphere, and people as well.

"A person's ch'i animates the body and is the source of their unique essence," Xenja said.

The importance of the ch'i is that of interplay between people and the environment. The goal of Feng Shui is to harmonize and balance energies while curing problem areas and deflecting harmful energies.

Sha could be the reason for the many troubles that students face when dealing with the financial aid office, because the long hallways in E. Cullen collect negative Feng Shui.
Photo by Travis Howell

"Ch'i enters a structure through its doors and windows," Xenja said. Hallways and interior walls serve as corridors for the flow of ch'i throughout the building. Plants, furniture arrangements, objects such as mirrors, round-cut glass crystals and brass wind chimes can further direct and shape the course of ch'i ."

Now what? So your dorm faces the wrong way and there is no immediate source of water other than what collects in the gutter, or what is stored in the tank of the toilet. Without feeling vital in your space, how can you possibly be expected to perform?

In most situations, easy solutions will cure your problem, unless of course, your "space" happens to be built over a cemetery. If that is the case, call the wrecking ball.

If you suspect that your dorm or apartment has a problem, call a Feng Shui consultant to do a reading. Like a doctor doing an exam, the consultant will visit your space and give advice on how best to arrange and design for maximum harmony and balance. In addition, the consultant can also diagnose problems and offer remedies.

"One of the easiest things to do to remedy poor Feng Shui is to rid the room of clutter, get rid of sharp angles and create a workspace with a wide view of the room," Wilcox said. "This will better focus attention and heighten creativity."

If it's your ch'i that's feeling under the weather, Wilcox recommends adding nine healthy plants to your office or bedroom. If you're sleeping on a waterbed -- don't. The stagnant water could cause urinary or bladder problems.

Wilcox also recommends minimizing the existence of electrical boxes and appliances. Outlets, transformers, electric blankets, microwaves, computers and other electrical devices slowly affect the nervous system. If you're feeling like life in the hall closet might be safe, think again. All rooms must be well-illuminated and ventilated.

Your home can be fixed, and so can your office, but what about your school? You could transfer to a more Feng Shui-friendly university -- although to Wilcox's knowledge, there are no universities set up according to Feng Shui. The only alternative, then, is to fix what we've got.

Wilcox recommends starting at the top. "I would start with offices of the administrators, because Feng Shui is related to exposure. To have good Feng Shui in a classroom really doesn't mean anything if you don't spend a substantial amount of time in it," Wilcox said.

Starting with the decision-makers would have a trickle-down effect. Let's just hope it works better than the last promises of "trickle down."

While the whole thing might sound ridiculous, many people have noticed concrete differences in their lives since their spaces have been "Feng Shuied." 

California acting student Yasha Blackmon called a Feng Shui practitioner when he was still in college.

"My grades went up and I suddenly felt like a huge burden had been lifted and I was able to plan the rest of my life," Blackmon said. "I know how weird it sounds, but people shouldn't knock it until they try it."


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