Thursday, October 9, 2008

Feng Shui

The Chinese knew thousands of years ago what we still know today – everything is energy and the energy that radiates from your external environment affects your being on all levels – physical, mental, emotional, energetic and spiritual. Coined Feng Shui, the science involved creating harmonious spaces that energetically provided for optimal health.

The Native Americans among many others say the opposite is also true – and thus the importance of maintaining one’s health for internal and external harmony. This belief is also supported by the well-worn phrases found on t-shirts and bumper stickers that ‘we are all connected’ and ‘everything affects everything.’

More than ever, this belief system resonates with me.

The house that we are living in, coined the Eagle’s Nest, is quite beautiful. It’s an open space with big windows, warm colors on the walls and no internal doors (curtains are used in lieu of doors). It’s a straw bale construction, meaning the walls are insulated with straw bale and covered with stucco. The insulation grading of standard homes is R19. These walls, which are 14 inches thick, have an approximate rating of twice the standard rating. When the windows are closed, the silence inside is so thick, I feel as if I have cotton in my ears.

The floors are made of poured concrete, 3 feet deep, providing radiant heat within. When the heat is on, I love feeling the soles of my feet against the floor’s deep warmth.

This house is obviously built to last until the end of time and will at the very least withstand the cold high desert winters.

Recently while on a 4-day lemon juice fast, I noticed a different sensation about the Eagle’s Nest that I hadn’t felt before. Being on a fast puts me into a completely different frame of mind, as you can imagine. First of all, I am at times extremely fatigued, and as a result conserve energy – focusing only on thoughts and actions that are important to me.

In addition, I become particularly sensitive to my surroundings – noticing things that I’m not aware of otherwise. I remember well the effects of my last fast while I was staying at an Ashram. On the fourth night I attended Satsang where everyone was chanting and playing various percussion instruments. To me, the music seemed to be played in slow motion as I sensed that I could hear each note individually – almost like separate words being spoken instead of the full collective of sound that I normally hear. It was a bit too intense for my senses and I had to leave. The next morning I broke my fast. I noticed that my ears felt like long tubes and with each bite I took, I felt those long tubes closing up until my hearing returned to the less than average hearing I currently have.

During my most recent fast here, I began to notice the weight of the walls and floors of the Eagle’s Nest. Their energy felt heavy and isolating and so I decided to spend some time outside. Taking a walk in the desert, I was drawn to the radiant warmth and strength of the rock faces. Since my body had grown lighter and colder due to the fast, the rocks with their heat and solid nature created needed balance. Lying down across them in various yoga positions, I had thoughts of how much these rocks had seen and been transformed by their thousands of years in this place. A loud rhythmic sound occurred directly over me. It was a raven flying only 4 feet overhead. Did their wings always make this much noise when flying?

I began to really understand the power of one’s environment on their body/mind/spirit. Intellectually I knew this to be true, but hadn’t felt it in my bones. Mostly I became sensitive to the difference between masculine and feminine energies in the environment - and the need to keep them balanced. When I’m feeling overly light and airy or fluid (yin or feminine), my body craved the solid warmth of the rocks (yang or masculine). And when I’m feeling an overabundance of masculine energy – perhaps thru extended physical exertion - I crave water (feminine), by being near a river or taking a bath, to return to balance.

When creating a life of harmony, health and wholeness, it often seems like there’s a lot to consider – but that’s only because we’re thinking too much about it instead of listening to how we feel. Our bodies are the ‘mouthpieces of the soul’ and will let you know what is right and healthy for you, moment-to-moment, if you will listen. That knowledge and wisdom is always available to you. You may think you are doing it for yourself, but you will also do it for everything around you. The trees and birds, air and rocks, your husband and your knees will all benefit.