While usual readers of this column may wonder what getting organized has to do with religion or spiritual diversity, it may interest you to know that the 4000-year-old method of organization known as feng shui is rooted in positioning objects in a “positive” orientation according to qi, the lifeforce at the spiritual core of most Eastern religions and philosophies.
For thousands of years, feng shui was used to position buildings–usually of spiritual significance like tombs and temples–but also personal dwellings and other structures, in a “positive” orientation. Depending on the particular method of feng shui being applied, (many approaches developed across Asia), a positive site could be determined by reference to physical features such as bodies of water, celestial bodies, or sometimes by use of a compass.
Just as feng shui applies to structures within the landscape, so too does it apply to the flow of energy within a dwelling or home. Thus, the way objects are placed inside a dwelling can greatly encourage the flow of qi–or greatly inhibit it. And if your home lacks organization, the solution may be to shift the energetic matrix of your home by encouraging a positive flow of energy.
In feng shui, the concept of organizing objects within the home is referred to as “space clearing.” It’s based on the premise that our homes reflect the vibrational imprints of past events–perhaps even before you became a resident–which leave patterns of impeded or stagnant energy flow that henceforth require objects within it to be arranged in a particular manner so as not to further block the flow of qi.
Additionally, stagnant energy tends to alter the way its inhabitants perceive their space; unconsciously adding to the negative flow by not being sufficiently inspired to effectively organize. By simply changing the way you feel about your home, you may be able to break the pattern of thought that has led to the disorganized behavior.
Here are the steps to organizing the feng shui way:
1. Start by Getting Rid of Concentrated Clutter.
To the subconscious mind, clutter triggers impressions of stagnation; energy stuck so that life itself doesn’t move. Emotionally, it can represent those things we subconsciously resist and places we don’t want to direct our attention. Simply put, when we see disorganization–piles of laundry, stacks of papers or unread mail, empty boxes–our minds equate it with chaos and dead energy. Thus, it seems only appropriate to continue to contribute to these “dead zones.” Rid yourself of this clutter and the energy will begin to flow.
2. Clear the Corners.
Corners of our rooms are places where qi comes to a stop. It gets congested; dead-ended. Clear your corners of clutter and then place a plant or corner shelf there, or even hang a wind chime instead. Once you do, mentally acknowledge that corners need room for energy to flow. Soon, you’ll come to discover the proper places these things actually belong.
3. Ritually Clean Out Your Closets.
Closets are perhaps the greatest centers of dead energy. Typically full of things we don’t need–and don’t want–closets become the proverbial “black holes” of stagnant qi. And to make things worse, everything we store in them and use from them carries the mindset of stagnant energy. So, pick a day and clean them out. If you don’t use it or truly need it, get rid of it! And once you organize them, ceremoniously place a bouquet of fresh flowers or herbal sachet inside them to commemorate your new attitude. And once you feel the free flow of energy and how differently you feel when you open the closet doors, you’ll want to keep them that way from then on.
4. Daily Ceremony.
Once you extend this pattern throughout your house and have your home reasonably organized and the energy flowing freely, burn a candle or stick of incense each night for a week to reinforce the positive energy and balance your home now enjoys. Burning a candle will not only remind you of your accomplishment, it will help establish the goal of maintaining positive energy throughout your home.
5: Revisit Those Once “Dead Zones.”
Once a week, consciously reinforce the progress you and your home have made by intentionally inspecting those previously unorganized places–those spots where the mail once lay in piles, the corners that were packed with clothes and shoes and random junk, and the closets that were so messy you hated to look inside. Consciously acknowledge how much differently your home feels now that it‘s organized, and how positive you feel inside it. And acknowledge that by some seemingly unknown miracle, things now seem to automatically find their way to their rightful places rather than just set aside for later.