When I lived in Bali, I would sometimes entertain my Balinese friends with tales of life in the West. Something that would always evoke astonishment and a great deal of laughter was explaining to them what common practice it is in western offices to position desks so that they face towards the walls. They would find this absolutely hilarious, not just because it means that people sit facing a blank wall rather than having a view of some kind, but also because they all have their backs to each other. "Don’t people like each other?" they would ask me, incredulously.
Most Balinese people have never heard of feng shui, let alone studied it, but being so etherically connected to the extraordinary land energies of their island, they all have an innate sense of what feels right and what doesn’t. They can feel the energy flows that feng shui knowledge is based on.
The reason I’m prompted to write about this this today of all days is because all the furniture in my office has been moved to the centre of the room while redecorating, so instead of my usual expansive view, all I can see is two tall cupboards directly in front of me, creating the feeling of facing a solid wall. It’s only for a day, but the effect is stifling. I don’t even like to think about how it would affect me if I sat permanently like this.
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The best position for a desk — as any Balinese person or western feng shui consultant knows – is facing into the room with a solid wall behind you and a view of all the doors and windows in the room. Sitting diagonally opposite (cater-corner to) the door is even better still, and is known in feng shui as the "command position." It is always necessary, of course, to first check that this will not place you in a geopathically or electromagnetically stressed area that could be harmful to your health. This can be tested for by dowsing for earth lines and using special meters to measure electromagnetic fields (EMFs).
The worst desk position of all is sitting with your back to a door, and I have it on good authority that there is now a scientific explanation why this is. Research has shown that sitting with your back to a door releases the stress hormone cortisol, whereas sitting facing a door releases the feel-good hormone oxytocin. How cool is that? Feng shui masters have known about this beneficial effect for centuries, and now modern science is able to substantiate it.
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I’m still looking for the citation for this particular study, by the way, so if anyone reading this happens to know where I can find it, please do let me know. I’m also interested to hear about any other scientific studies that cast light on feng shui principles of any kind. I’ve developed my subtle body structures to the point where energies are as tangible to me as solid objects are to others, but I realize most people have to take the information I teach on trust. If I can feel it, and I can train practitioners to feel it (which I certainly do), then surely it will one day be possible to scientifically measure it, too.
To conclude this article, I’m mindful there may be people reading it who, for one reason or another, are not able to move their desk to a better position. In some cases there are feng shui remedies for this, and in some cases not. I don’t give personalized feng shui advice from a distance because there are too many things that can get missed that way, so please don’t email to ask. The best I can suggest, if you’re concerned, is to find a feng shui practitioner in the area where you live who is also proficient at dowsing and has professional equipment to check EMFs. At the very least, bear this information in mind next time you set up a desk in a new home or job, so you can make wiser choices for yourself.
Karen Kingston isn't just the end-all, be-all authority on clutter clearing. This renowned feng shui and space clearing expert is also a popular blogger and the author of two million-copy best-selling books, included the ground-breaking classic, Clear Your Clutter with Feng Shui. Now, the R29 fave is here to share her feng shui, clutter clearing, and space clearing knowledge with you all.