Self-Knowledge/Introspection Area of the Bagua

by Carol C. Wheelock

Dear Carol,
I have heard the area of the bagua in the front left corner called so many different names that I am confused as to what it is really about. Can you explain this?

Dear Marilyn,

That front left area of the bagua (the template or grid that is superimposed upon any space, the areas of which correspond to areas of a person's life) is referred to by several different names. I call it Self-knowledge and Introspection. Others use a variety of terms; knowledge, spirituality, contemplation, and self-cultivation are the most common.

These terms are not actually very far apart. This area of the bagua is about knowing oneself, which requires some introspection and/or contemplation. Self-cultivation also requires knowing and developing oneself. The whole idea is to focus on the self in a meaningful way in order to evolve and grow.

Spirituality enters in as a path to obtaining self-knowledge. It is through spiritual practices that clear self-knowledge is made possible. Meditation, prayer, yoga, and other practices help enlighten an individual and bring clarity to one's purpose in life, strengths, weaknesses, etc.

This is a very yin section of the bagua. In the original bagua it was represented by the mountain. Think about the stillness of a mountain, and going to a mountain to be one with that stillness. There are often references to caves in the mountains, further emphasizing the yin nature of this area. Being in a cave on a still mountain is not only a very yin experience; it is also one that invites introspection, meditation, and contemplation.

In order to fully appreciate and understand this section of the bagua, it is important to also look at the Relationship area, which is diagonally opposite Self-knowledge and Introspection . Self-knowledge puts the emphasis on the self and Relationship puts the emphasis on connecting/relating to another.

Feng shui, as always, is about balance. In this instance the balance is between the self alone and the self with another. This balance exists on several different levels and is an issue that many struggle with in today's busy world.

First of all, it requires that a person have a clear sense of self before entering into a relationship. Otherwise, the person becomes lost and is defined by the other person or the relationship itself, and is no longer an authentic individual. If two people have a healthy relationship, that relationship will, in turn, support individual growth. And the positive cycle continues...

Secondly, this balance relates to time. Does the busy schedule allow for individual time? If every free moment is spent in relationship time, with no consideration given to individual interests and needs, an imbalance is created. Frustration, resentment, and a lack of self-growth can result. Private or individual time is necessary to support the relationship, which should be supporting individual time.

Consider whether the space supports this balance. Ideally, there would be a room for meditation or personal activity (self-knowledge) in the front left of the house, and the master bedroom (relationship) would be in the back right. Since most of us do not live in ideal houses, it is necessary to address this in other ways.

Put something in the front left area that speaks to you of personal growth, self-awareness, etc. It could be a statue, an altar, a photo, something symbolic of a personal passion, or anything else that serves as a conscious reminder of this area of your life. In the back right area of your house or apartment, put a picture of you and your partner or a pair of something. Avoid single or group images.

Create a space somewhere that allows you to be alone. It could be a small den, studio, or corner of a room. The point is to acknowledge yourself and your need for time to just be, meditate, or pursue an activity that lets you get in touch with your inner self.

Then look at the master bedroom. Is it a retreat space that honors the relationship? It should be a sanctuary that honors the two of you. Elsewhere in the house there should also be at least one space that support communication. For instance, does the furniture arrangement in the living room invite conversation or does it invite television watching? A quick assessment of what happens in that room will give you the answer.

If you are not in a romantic relationship, this interconnectedness of the sections of the bagua is still relevant. If you are interested in being in a relationship, create the space to support one, along with the space to support yourself as an individual. Create the balance in your home and life to support the balance you would like in a relationship.

Whether or not you are interested in a romantic relationship, consider how this fits in with the amount of time and focus you give to yourself versus what you give others. This could apply to either business or social relationships. There still needs to be time and space for that self-knowledge and introspection.

By looking at both the Self-knowledge/Introspection and Relationship areas in your home, you can help support both of these areas in your life. One of these areas cannot be looked at in isolation. Just as you need both to achieve balance and wholeness, your surroundings need both to support those aspects of your life..

Dear Readers,

I do believe that each one of use has the power to make a difference in the world. By acting with conscious intention and acknowledging the following feng shui principles, each on of us can spread messages of peace, love, balance, and harmony in the world:

  1. Everything is alive.Modern physics teaches that everything has an energy field - it's the same message. To me that means that everything is talking to us. Are we listening? Do we like what we hear? This is about listening on a global level, as well as on a personal level. If we all make an effort to surround ourselves with people and objects that emit messages of peace, love, and support, we can, in turn, spread those messages out into the world.
  2. Everything is connected. This can be viewed spiritually and/or scientifically. It's about oneness, and what is done to or by one of us, affects us all. By honoring ourselves through creating supportive home and work environments, we honor all of mankind. We get back what we put out.
  3. Everything is always changing. This is a given in our lives. We can use change in our environments to help affect change in our lives. As we make those changes with positive intentions, we will create more harmony on a personal level. World harmony begins with personal harmony.
Blessings for a peaceful and auspicious 2006.

Carol C. Wheelock, M.Ed. of Feng Shui Vermont is a certified feng shui practitioner who has studied in the United Sates and China. She practices Black Sect or western feng shui. Carol does private consultations for homes, schools, libraries, and businesses; clutter counseling and clearing; spaces clearings; phone consultations; presentations; and teaches workshops throughout the United States. She also does personal clearings.

Copyright � 2000-2011 Feng Shui Vermont
Carol C. Wheelock