Feng Shui is a method that uses the environment to influence the person’s or the family’s well-being.
This is my journey to become a fully trained professional feng shui consultant.
As a child, I was fascinated to hear that a feng shui consultant had made recommendations to the Prime Minister – Mr Lee Kuan Yew, to change the layout of Singapore city centre to make it prosperous.
The feng shui consultant (Ven. Hong Choon) also made design changes to a hotel that struggled to fill its rooms to one that is now busy all year long. This intrigued me, and it became my ambition to become a feng shui consultant.
Many decades later, I started my search for a professional feng shui consultant training course while working as a forensic scientist at London’s Metropolitan Police. I studied many books on feng shui, but they did not fit my understanding of Chinese Culture.
Feng shui developed with the start of Chinese civilisation some 4,000 years ago. Considering the age of this Chinese Art, the published methods in the West appeared to me to be relatively simple. It lacked the depth of knowledge and had many contradictions.
I did not feel comfortable. I know Chinese metaphysics is seamless and based on the fundamentals of Chinese Metaphysics.
Using my investigative skills as a forensic scientist, I started my search in various countries to find the best way to be trained as a feng shui consultant. I wanted to learn methods that work consistently, provide tangible results and has a feedback mechanism that serves as a check.
I searched for more than five years.
This is my Journey.
My interest in Feng Shui started at a young age when I heard that the Singapore city centre was redesigned with this Chinese philosophy.
Also, the same feng shui consultant (Ven. Hong Choon) had redesigned the front of the Grand Hyatt Hotel. Since the original opening day, it had been doing poorly. On the re-opening night, there was a delay because of a technical fault on a B747 Jumbo aircraft. About 300 passengers were booked for an overnight stay. This hotel has remained fully booked to the present day.
I learnt that Feng Shui is a Chinese environmental methodology that helps to bring out the best in you. Putting it simply, it optimises the environment so that humans can achieve their goals faster and easier.
The feng shui design of Singapore city was to enable it to prosper continually. The impact of any recession would be lessened.
This was to set Singapore’s growth to a world-class nation as it is today.
The feng shui of the Grand Hyatt Hotel was meant to turn around the ailing performance to a successful hotel.
In both cases, the feng shui implementation worked.
Learning that feng shui would help my family, I suggested that we should have a visit from a feng shui consultant. I also mentioned to my parents that I wanted to be a feng shui consultant.
I was talked out of it and had to wait a few more decades to fulfil my life’s ambition.
I picked a few suggestions from family friends in Singapore. One in particular. He was a serious student of Chinese Metaphysics.
The Chinese love their Secrets
Many of the Chinese practises like Martial Arts (Kung Fu), Chinese Arts, including feng shui, the experts have always been very protective of their knowledge so much so that there is a side industry of people who exploit this information vacuum.
The reputable practitioners who are trained in the practice are very careful about talking about their methodologies. They perceive that talking too much would “affect their rice bowl” or livelihoods. As a result of this information vacuum, there are groups of people who market themselves as practitioners or teachers and provide an alternative view of the practice.
Because these people get their information from different sources, contradictions arise. This, in turn, adds confusion to these Chinese Arts. As a result, prospective clients have become very aware and cautious. They do their research and seek recommendations before making any commitment.
Our family friend said: “Teachers teach you the knowledge or theory of a subject. However, it is not possible to learn a practical subject from a teacher. Their primary skill is imparting information, and they are unlikely to be familiar with the practical aspects. To learn a practical subject, you have to be trained by a practitioner who knows the practical side and how the method works.
It is even better is to be trained from a lineage holder. Lineage is the traditional Chinese system about passing down the name, knowledge and practise methods.
The training programme within the lineage system is for an artisan or craftsman. The training is to provide you with the necessary skills to practise the craft with the aim that you will be as good as your trainer.
The lineage holder would only pass on their proprietary methods (practise knowledge) to someone they can trust and use this knowledge for the common good. To them, it is more important to maintain the “good name” than sell the knowledge. If they were good, they would have made money from their services.
All practitioners in Chinese Metaphysics like Martial Arts, Healing Arts, Predictive Arts etc., have their secrets. This is very much like the Corporations in the West where they hold their propriety knowledge very tightly. The prime example is “Coca Cola”. The formula for the original Coca Cola is kept in a secret vault in their head office in Atlanta, Georgia, USA.
Training with a Lineage Society usually lasts about ten years. It is the training of an artisan where you not only get the personal attention mentorship but training in character building or personality training. (The complete training is very much like the Master/apprentice relationship in the UK.) This is where the practical work is supervised on a 1 to 1 basis for a long period of time.
These opportunities seldom appear. You have to be very fortunate to be selected.”
I still remember the occasions in Singapore when a family friend explained these subtleties to me many decades ago.
The Key fundamentals of Chinese Philosophy
• Five Elements and their cycles (Creative and Destructive)
• Any method that does not have these fundamentals should be viewed critically
Feng Shui has come to the UK (from 1995)
I noticed books and articles in newspapers and magazines about feng shui. They stated that feng shui developed more than 4,000 years ago and, there were a few simple methods.
The formulae or methods:
1. The house is segmented into nine equal “squares”. Each “square” has a different characteristic.
2. The use of Chinese symbols to change your fortune
3. Eight house formula for person and house
4. Flying star – time dimension
5. Form school – a simple few rules.
From my basic knowledge of the Chinese Arts, I know the practice is integrated; it is seamless from one end to the other.
Secondly, it does not fit – a 4,000-year-old methodology with simple methods. So something is not quite right – it is incongruous.
I started looking for a professional feng shui consultant training course. I looked on the internet, attended conferences and networked in all parts of the World.
My Aims as a professional feng shui consultant
Feng Shui was then not well known in the UK. People are becoming more aware of the environment that they are living in. Feng Shui is about creating an environment helping the well-being of the people.
To find methods:
1. That is proven and tangible in use
2. To get feedback in the analysis and implementation.
My model is how the mainstream organisations in the UK organise their professional training. It is carried out by trainers or instructors who have practical experience of the “profession or trade”. They supervise the practical work. This is followed by a period of time in a training position as an apprentice, intern or trainee.
The professional training courses offered for a feng shui consultant was classroom-based with no practical work.
So, my follow up questions on the teachers:
1. What did they do before practising or training feng shui?
2. Where did they learn or be trained in the practice knowledge?
3. What practical experience does the teacher have before getting involved in the training of feng shui?
As feng shui was a new subject in the UK, the teachers had jobs like executives, teachers, marketers, architects etc.
None were involved with the Traditional Chinese Arts. They had learnt the subject from other teachers and some from the ancient texts. There was no mention of having practical training in this Chinese Art.
When you are learning a skill, you need feedback to know whether you are doing it correctly. This is common to all methodologies. With practice, you improve based on the feedback. However, with the above methods, I could not see how feedback could be achieved, and there is no way to monitor the implementation.
Perhaps, this explains why there are so many different interpretations on the same topic. They are, therefore, opinions and not facts.
The fundamental question is – How do you know you are following the right path? First, you learn from the feedback loop. You then make the appropriate adjustments.
As I could not find any teacher of my expectation from my initial search in the UK, I decided to visit various countries (Singapore, Malaysia, Hong Kong and Taiwan) in the Far East where we (my wife, Helen and I) could speak to the various people who use and practise Feng Shui.
It was not easy to talk about getting the best training as they thought I was going to be a potential competitor.
We got to know Malaysia’s best-known feng shui consultant (Master Yap Cheng Hai), and he warmed to us. He recommended learning in Taiwan. He did his further education there and trained in Martial Arts (WuShu style) and became a regional champion. He said that if you want the real or true knowledge of any Chinese Philosophy, you have to go to Taiwan.
When the Communist-led by Mao Zedong (Chairman Mao) took over Mainland China in 1949, the fleeing Chinese Nationalist Government set up their new base in Taiwan, an island off the coast of China. They took with them all the relevant people from the Chinese Imperial Court and the Treasures from the Museums. The top people of the various Arts are now based in Taiwan.
Master Yap said: “That is how I trained to become a champion in Chinese Martial Arts (Wu Shu).”
Hong Kong was a British outpost of China, and “they fed on the scraps of information of the various Chinese Arts”.
They have scholars or researchers who have built up their knowledge based on Ancient Texts. “Not all these texts are accurate or true. I would not trust these ancient texts explicitly”.
We had a very informative discussion with a director of a property company that develops and owns shopping centres and hotels. The business started off using Malaysian Feng Shui consultants, but the results were inconsistent. So we moved on to work with consultants from Hong Kong then to Taiwan.
“I currently work with a consultant from Taiwan. When we start a new project, he gets involved. His work has been very consistent, and the projects have worked wonderfully. We are now a billion-dollar company. We have minimised the risks and increased the return on these projects when using his services”.
He gets work from all over the World. Many significant businesses use his services. Recently, the Prime Minister of Singapore flew into Taiwan for meetings.
We arranged to meet this particular consultant in Taipei (Taiwan).
Meeting Feng Shui Master Meeting in Taipei:
The consultant confirmed much of the details we heard earlier. He had trained in mainland China and was “brought” over to Taiwan when the Nationalist Government moved in the early 1950s. He has worked in many parts of the World, including Far East, North America and Europe. He was in his eighties and nowadays, rarely did any travelling.
I asked him who his clients were. He said that we maintain client confidentiality at all times. He has worked with several national leaders and is involved in projects for billion-dollar companies throughout the World.
I was interested in the training scene. The lineage training depended on the lineage holder and whether the person was looking for students. They usually teach in Chinese. There comes a stage in the lineage holder’s career where they want to pass on their practice knowledge (secrets), and they seek students for the next generation. They are not doing it for the money, but they are doing it to keep the knowledge alive.
He said a lineage holder in the US could be looking for students and teaches in English. He was not sure.
Sensing my interest in learning, he ended the conversation with the Chinese expression (Lao Tzu): “When the Student Is Ready, the Teacher Will Appear, when the Student is Truly Ready, the Teacher will Disappear”.
“Do not worry; it will happen”.
Finally, I asked him why he is so hard to find. How do people get to know and contact him?
“If you are good, people will always want to know you.”
He said that with a smile, and we departed.
On my return to the UK, inspired by this information, I enhanced my search with my network of like-minded enthusiasts. A year later, I noticed someone, who was contributing very sensible answers to the discussion board, was holding an introductory class in Los Angeles, USA. I attended the class.
Comment on Class: There was a heavy emphasis on the Chinese fundamentals (yin/yang, five elements, LoShu, PaKua), and from the examples, I could see her depth of experience and knowledge.
The Master was looking for indoor students with the criteria:
• To be good students
• Have high morals and ethics to take responsibility to practise this knowledge.
• Do no harm.
She was looking to set up a team to work on large projects. The course duration would be long and plenty of hard work and homework.
Yippee! I was selected to be an indoor student.
Two buildings, one thousand years apart. The Shard (background) was completed in 2012AD. The main part of the Tower of London was built in 1078AD.
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