The information in most feng shui books focuses on the details in our homes and businesses and this makes a lot of sense since a) we are affected more directly by our immediate environment and b) we generally have more control over changing our immediate personal surroundings than outside forces. An example of this might be the ability of an individual to paint a room verses having no control over an eyesore across the street.
But feng shui theory does have a lot to say about the impact of our larger exterior environment. In a general way, people who live near water tend to be more intellectual and spiritual. They often are more prosperous. Which comes first, living close to water and making more money because of it.
Or making more money, which then allows a person to afford living close to water? They seem to go hand-in-hand. The negative side affect of living too close to water is that it can encourage behavior that is cunning or selfish.
There is also a difference between living in a beach community and being so close to water that the waves literally splash against your deck, with periodic flooding. Malibu is an area that routinely experiences floods, fire and avalanches. One of my clients said that her family has been air-lifted four times from their roof when the coast of Malibu had mudslides, filling their house with mud. It is amazing that they continued to live there for 30 years!
Another general observation is that people who live in the mountains tend to be more heart-centered and less cunning than people who live near water. But on the other end of the spectrum, the "mountain" people can become too secluded and left unchecked, it could produce a person who is lonely or anti-social.
Some people want to live on the highest part of a mountain for maximum view. From a feng shui standpoint, this is not desirable because it leaves the house and occupants too exposed to the elements, such as wind. A house that is positioned roughly in the middle range of the mountain is considered the luckiest. Too much wind can make people irritated and angry. In fact, in Taoist sexology, conceiving during a strong wind or the presence of lightning can negatively affect the eventual health and disposition of the child.
Obviously, people who live in the desert are very tough people, inside and out. This is the most harsh environment, where people normally do not live under these conditions. Only the presence of water can make survival in the desert possible. Think about how Las Vegas and Palm Springs appear like a magical oasis out of nowhere. The man-made lakes, ponds and fountains make these places come alive and more balanced.
We all yearn for our own dream environment. Some people love the lights, hustle and bustle of living in a busy city. For some, living downtown where all the action takes place is the stimulation they need. Others desire the peace and tranquility of being away from a congested city and having the space to "live out in the country."
As we age, our tolerance or attraction to certain climates might change as well. There probably is no such thing a perfect feng shui environment because there are too many variables and because there is a strong objective component, which suits each person uniquely. An extension of this includes communities which are deemed conservative or liberal in the personalities or politics of its residents.
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© Melt Magazine 2001