By Victoria Pendragon

The various psychological schools of feng shui may approach the mapping of interior space differently but this they agree on: the images we see profoundly affect us not only consciously, but at a subliminal level. In other words, what you see affects the way in which your life unfolds.

Based on this principal, someone, somewhere came up with the concept of vision boards, usually a piece of poster board upon which are glued numerous images of what someone has conceptualized as a goal – or goals – that they wish to achieve. The result is usually a literal visual translation: a wedding couple, a hot car, palm trees, a beach.

These images of desire are then placed in what is thought to be a strategic location which often turns out to be on the door of the refrigerator or some otherwise unoccupied kitchen wall. The resultant feng shui is dubious.

A piece of art catches your attention; attention = energy. Thoughtfully placed items in a space therefore create a pleasant spatial experience, one in which energy is kept moving at a comfortable, livable flow. There is a kind of feng shui to the two dimensional surface of a work of art as well: composition, the thoughtful placing of color and images on a plane, an arrangement of form or shapes that allows the eye to travel across its surface, occasionally stopping to rest and perhaps contemplate. As with an enclosed space, the goal of a work of art is similar to the goal of good feng shui, the enjoyment of an area.

And that is why the typical vision board makes for poor feng shui.

First of all, the vision board is based on want. In feng shui terms, to hang a picture of want in your living space is to create more wanting because of the psychological effect of the images on your mind. Conceptually, the vision board is supposed to trigger you into imagining that you have what is pictured, but your body does not conceptualize; your body lives in the now moment, so when it sees a picture of something that you do not have, it recognizes that fact and tells itself, “There’s that thing I don’t have,” and so ends up supporting your not having it which is not what you were hoping for.

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