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  • Writer's pictureJamie Bass

Feng Shui Core Concepts: CHI (Part 1)

To review, I’ve been discussing the core concepts that all feng shui practitioners rely on when reviewing a space. I’ve touched on Tao, which means connectedness, and Yin/Yang, which is about balance. Now, I’ll explore Chi, which means vitality.

What is Chi?

For us Westerners, we tend to define Chi as energy, but it’s traditionally referred to as “the breath of life” or life force. You can think of Chi as a feeling that permeates throughout a space or any influence that can be experienced through the five senses. Chi is what is seen, heard, smelled, touched, and moved through. It’s how we intake the physical world and is something that’s expressed through the feel of a space.

Chi plays a vital role in influencing our feelings as we move through different environments. The color of the walls, the pattern on the chairs, the heaviness of the furniture, and the pathway through a room, among other things, all influence the vitality of a space. And that amount of vitality (aka how Chi is expressed by the various elements in a room) shapes our response to that space. Think of it this way: how we experience a space through our senses affects our own vitality, which impacts our moods, so we can change our moods by adjusting the amount of stimulation each one of our senses experiences. For instance, accumulated Chi, or too much input, produces dramatic results, like an overfilled balloon waiting to burst or a sky filled with positive ions that explodes in lightning. Conversely, when Chi is dissipated, or there is a lack of sensory stimulation, we can feel debilitated. A living space that lacks Chi drains its inhabitants, and that absence can usually be traced back to one of the five sensorial expressions that are necessary for us to feel alive. We lose Chi when we are ill, but the loss of Chi can also make us ill.

How Do We Experience Chi in Our Spaces?

As mentioned above, Chi is experienced through the five senses. Knowing this, we can use our senses as a guide to help us understand what Chi is influenced by in our spaces (table via Feng Shui with What You Have: Maximum Harmony, Minimum Effort).

Chi is the force of life and expresses itself through the way in which we experience a space. But there are many different types of Chi, and a common one that you may hear of in relation to feng shui is negative, or Sha, Chi. The next post explores Sha Chi in greater detail so you can understand the best ways to protect and nurture your vitality.

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