Schmidt: Dys-Feng Shui 1

Guest Writer Frederick Schmidt

“To believe in something, and not to live it, is dishonest.” —Mahatma Gandhi.


I don’t know a great deal about feng shui (pronounced fung shwee), but it is, as I understand it, a Chinese concept of aesthetics that applies “the laws of heaven and earth” to create harmony and order. It teaches how to maximize the use of life’s energy in order to be in sync with the world around us.

Today it is used in a rather more trivialized and commercial fashion by interior decorators who probably don’t know a lot about ancient Chinese philosophy. But they do know an exotic way to sell their services when they see one!

In the middle of a rather lengthy business meeting some years ago, those of us around the table found a way to kill a few free moments by joking about the rather strange table arrangement we had been given for our meeting. The worst of it was that there were people sitting at tables behind us. They were forced to face the backs of our heads, and we were positioned with our backs to them.

Thus, one of the funnier “you had to be there to understand” moments was the one in which we critiqued the arrangement as a product of “dys-feng shui.”

Whether you find that funny or not, I think it is true that the more we live into the spiritual life, the more we take responsibility for the world around us. We notice feng shui and dys-feng shui—or to turn the vocabulary in a direction that is a bit more familiar to me, we notice where the Spirit of God is at work and where the Spirit of God is marginalized.

I am not talking about some kind of soft social consciousness, never mind a body of political beliefs. I am referring to the capacity to look at the world around us through the eyes of God.

Frederick Schmidt

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