2008

The Year of Reorganization

rat

The Year of the Rat is the beginning of a new cycle of years in the Chinese Zodiac; Midnight has passed, and a new day is being born. And as with every beginning, there will at first be confusion and chaos as new form of ch’i creates new realities and new challenges. It is time to prepare for awakening.

In our world this year, the pendulum of Yin and Yang has had a much wider swing than usual. While the whole world facing global warming last year, in the beginning of this year China and parts of Europe and America have been facing an unexpected freeze, so great that millions of people in China were stranded. This phenomenon of intensified alternation between Yin and Yang will appear at all levels: local, regional, international, and the personal as well.

Blue Mountain Feng Shui

We are embarrassed to admit that our Institute did not achieve much last year. Our major activity was to publish Master Tao Ping Siang’s book, Tai Ji Push Hands. Master Tao, who was my Tai Chi teacher, passed away before the book could be published.

We are fortunate to have a new Webmaster: Sabrina! You may find our web site more welcoming and accessible under her skillful hand. It now has English, Chinese and Russian versions. A Spanish version will be completed soon.

We have been promising everyone that this year we will complete development of our Power Point presentation of the Blue Mountain Feng Shui Level One course. Although there have been delays, we expect that this to be completed by the end of March, and made available to all certified Level One Feng Shui instructors.

Special congratulations to the Latvian group, who have established a very successful Feng Shui club! Students gather monthly to make presentations, exchange ideas, and work with the exercises taught by the Institute. We look forward to other local groups following their lead.

Another exciting development this year is that we will be offering a new program in Cork, Ireland. It will be especially interesting to explore Feng Shui in Ireland, where there is a strong tradition of respect for the energies of the land, and the inner-world beings who dwell in the land.

In August we will teach an intensive training session for a group of Baltic-area students who will come to Seattle. Many of them have studied Feng Shui extensively, we want to help them quickly advance and polish their knowledge and skills. Seattle-area students may also be interested in taking advantage of this special opportunity for intensive course.

This year’s Feng Shui Tour to China will be in the last week of October and first week of November, bypassing the frenzy of the Olympic Games. Space is limited, so if you are interested contact us soon. The tour schedule post on our new web site in June.

And finally, we hope to be able to transform our early draft of “Form Defines Energy, Tao of Feng Shui Book II”, in publishable form!

Local (Seattle) issues

Amazon.com announced it will transfer its operations to the South Lake Union neighborhood, a positive step. Jeff Bezos had his initial success in operating Amazon from his Seattle garage, in 1995. After moving its headquarters to the old Pacific Medical Center building at the north end of Beacon Hill, it has been struggling to turn a profit, even though sales continue to grow. Any of our Feng Shui graduates could have predicted this outcome; it is a classical case of unwholesome Feng Shui. Their building’s main entrance is facing toward the hill rather than a nice open space (Water feature) for financial advancement. The land in front (the Mountain feature) of the building is actually blocking financial opportunities. And to make matters worse, the land behind the building slopes steeply downward, indicating that the land provides little if any energetic support for Amazon.com’s forward movement in business arena, how can they accumulate money with this feng shui configuration? The building is highly visible from downtown and from the freeway, so Amazon.com gets high recognition, but even that has not produced profit. So, we welcome the news of their move. Amazon.com is a very innovative company, and a household word, and it deserves success. Although the initial move will not happen until 2012, on the information level it has already begun to manifest, and to influence Amazon.com stock in a positive way.

Starbucks is a different story: Last year, I heard that Starbucks planned to remodel its most successful store, located in University Village in Seattle. This sounded ominous to me; I was not surprised that Starbucks’ stock plummeted, and that for the first time it had to begin to close stores in the United States. With over 15,000 stores worldwide (over 11,000 in the US, and nearly 4,500 internationally), expansion has been too fast. According to Five Element Theory, when Fire (expansion) is too strong, it will damage Metal (solidity). If Starbucks does not slow down its compulsively rapid expansion, it will face even greater challenges and difficulties in the future.

When the new downtown Seattle Library building was completed three years ago, everyone — media, politicians, and community groups — hailed the new building as a Seattle jewel. In the talk radio program I hosted at the time, I said, “Let’s see how people feel about it three years from now.” Now, the general public and the news media have begun to wonder about what kind of return the community has gained from this investment. There has been no increase in readership, and the building is now being seen as boring rather than exciting. If there had been good Feng Shui input into the design, the outcome might have been much better.

The Experience Music Project building has been distinguished as one of the World’s Ten Most Ugly Buildings. I hope that the Seattle Library will not find itself on a list of Most Boring Buildings.

The Pacific Northwest has abundance of water, and, in Five Element Theory, Water is associated with intelligence. This is why the area has an abundance of high tech, biotech, computer and software companies. (Amazon.com is also associated with intelligence, and Starbucks Coffee is connected with Water, as well.) Why, then, is impressive architecture so lacking in Seattle? Where is the local talent in architecture and design? It seems that our local governmental agencies and businessmen prefer to turn to outsiders, who often hurt rather than help our local landscape. Why is this? This is a question for our feng shui students to ponder.

National level

In the United States, a long curse is coming to an end. Over the last few years, America’s traditional image as a place of generosity, justice, freedom, and fairness has degraded into one of arrogance, self-centeredness and aggressive ignorance. We have lost the moral high ground. Our national image may be tainted, but we are still a people of generosity, friendliness, and good moral values. Now that this dark season is ending, what we lost we can regain.

The most crucial issue we will face is that of energy, which is entangled with all other economic and environmental concerns. Our political leaders have not had the clarity of vision to set a goal of energy self-sufficiency. But if we are bold enough to believe we can do it, we can do it. Mind leads qi (ch’i); qi leads manifestation. We are a highly creative country; we can do this.. When we decided to go to the moon, we did it ahead of schedule. We need a leader with the courage and foresight to set energy independence as a goal, we can do it in less than ten years.

AS I said, in recent years, the United States has undergone a spiritual downturn. We have become more defensive; our vision has narrowed and become bogged down in self-interest and anxiety. 9/11 was a warning, but it did not wake people up. We have been so comfortable for so long that we can’t see that the world is rapidly changing around us. With the new year of the Rat, we can awaken.

People are concerned about the economic downturn — but we still enjoy the most abundance, safety and freedom. Happiness is strongly affected by perception. There is a positive note in all this for us: in Yin-Yang theory, when something reaches its lowest moment, it begins to move upward again. We are sensing a new spiritual movement among the younger generation. This will be different than the self-discovery movement of the hippie era. It will be a new, global vision: unifying materialism and spirituality

Global level

Traditional wisdom tells us that qi (ch’i) is always moving, always transforming. From the 19th to the 20th century, energy shifted from Europe to America; in the 21st century, the energy is shifting to Asia. This trend will continue. When qi is strong, growth is strong. China and India will continue to push for economic growth and increased influence on the world stage but will face more noticeable domestic challenges.

Russia’s new Czar is skillful in stirring up nationalism among the young people and flexing Russia’s muscle on the world stage.

The European Union, in expanding from its original 6 members to over 27 members currently, is forced to try to incorporate many more divergent interests. Its former coherence has been diluted. It will take a long time to get all the members to agree on the Lisbon Treaty. It may be that a smaller Union would have been better; yet the EU does constitute a definite stabilizing force in the world.

We continue to hear misery and tragedy in Africa. While many countries strive to minimize the suffering, the chaos and pain will continue, because they do not understand the fundamental basis of the problem. The only viable permanent solution involves reforestation. It is crucial to plant trees, to cover the continent with green. Connection, cooperation, and support are missing in Africa. And when we look at this situation from the point of view of Five Element Theory, we see that these needed qualities are associated with Earth. What is the best way to bring up Earth energy? Wood is the best way. The Wood element represents growth. This is why reforestation is so important for Africa.

The Israel and Palestine conflict will continue to be the focus of the Arab world, and thus will engage the Western world as well. A stable peace will be achieved in the Middle East when the actual forms of the countries, as defined by their national borders, are changed to more wholesome forms. One of the first things we learn in feng shui is that “Form Defines Energy.” Israel’s form is that of a dagger thrusting into the surrounding territory. According to Yin-Yang Theory, yielding can lead to gain, and what is disadvantageous can become advantageous. There are many intelligent politicians in the Middle East, but there is a difference between intelligence and wisdom. When Middle Eastern politicians become wise, they will recognize the solution.

Personal level

According to Chinese astrology, this will be a year of change and challenge for all people born in the year of the Rat. Change brings for opportunity; challenge brings forth transformation. Rat, Dragon and Monkey are in a triple harmony, so people born in the Dragon and Monkey years will have a more restful time; things will go more smoothly for them.

The Horse (high noon) is exactly opposite to the Rat (midnight). Those born in the Year of the Horse should get ready to face challenges! But by continuing to work hard, the Horse will receive rewards.

At the beginning of a day, it is still dark, but thankfully we feel the approach of dawn. It is the time to overcome laziness, shed old attachments, and release old ideas of comfort. Before you try to re-organize your physical reality, you may want to reorganize your mind. Remember: on all levels of existence, the information level comes first, energy follows, and the physical manifestation is the final result.

Enjoy the Year of the Rat!