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Spiritual preparation for the New Year can substantially bring about a better quality of life for this writer and members of this audience.  I attended an insightful lecture by Phil Janetta titled FENG SHUI FOR THE NEW YEAR. The talk was held on December 5, 1999 at the Forbes Quadrangle classroom building on the campus of the University of Pittsburgh and was sponsored by The Theosophical Society in Pittsburgh.  Phil Janetta is an international authority and teacher of  Feng Shui. A brief biography of Phil Janetta appeared in the fall 1999 Lecture Schedule of the Theosophical Society in Pittsburgh:

    Phil Janetta is an internationally known Feng Shui teacher and consultant, as well as a published author. He comes to this country after spending over 15 years in Asia as a student, teacher, and consultant and where he studied Feng Shui with professional Chinese practitioners, Taoist scholars, and Buddhist monks. For more than a decade Mr. Janetta operated a successful consulting practice in Tokyo. His advice was based on the principals of CH'I energy, and their application to physical and mental well being.  Since returning to the U.S., Phil has appeared on television and radio, and in major newspapers.  He consults and lectures throughout the US, Europe, and the Far East, and regularly teaches at the University of Pittsburgh and Community College of Allegheny. His published works include  co-authorship of several books with Micho Kushi, including the acclaimed "Macrobiotics and Oriental Medicine."  He is currently working on a book on Feng Shui to be published in the spring of the year 2000.

    Mr. Michael Riversay of Quality Environmental Assessment presents this definition of Feng Shui: "Ancient Chinese Science of design, placement, proportion.  The goal is to make sure buildings are in harmony with the environment, and optimized for health and happiness."  Feng Shui is the Chinese terms for feng (wind) and shui (water). These energies are the two types of the environment. Shui symbolizes the slow waters and describes the slow moving energy through the earth. Shui (the slow moving energy) harmonizes with aspects of one's life and building and reflects the aspirations of a person for a building and his life. Feng symbolizes the wind of change and describes a fast moving energy, which moves swiftly across the earth.  The Feng energies reflect influences on the environment and one's life.  These two energies interact and create turbulence. The subtle ways these energies interact determine the outcome of one's aspirations and goals for the building of  one's life.

Mr. Janetta in his lecture explained the ideas, principles, and actions that can profoundly affect our lives in the coming new year. These notes from this wise teacher's talk can hopefully help members of this audience live a very fine life in the coming year. The notes are divided into three sections: (1) Principles of Feng Shui important to preparing and planning for the new year; (2) Preparing for the new year by examining the past year; (3) Planning for the new year.


Principles and ideas from Feng Sui and the Oriental spiritual perspectives important to preparing and planning for the New Year:

Practitioners of Feng Sui learn to combine the physical and metaphysical in meeting life challenges. They not only concentrate on the physical goods of food, money, clothing, and cars, but also the spiritual values.

Feng Sui teaches people how to effectively thrive in their working and living spaces.

Feng Sui explains the purpose of human life is growth and development.  Better living and understanding one's self are the essence of growth.  As the person grows older his focus should be mental and spiritual development. Mr. Janetta explains, "Life is compassion. Life seeks to foster growth and development."

Feng Sui teaches a variation of the Tao (The Way). People who learn to flow with the Tao of the Cosmos achieve good lives and their goals.  When a person flows against the Toa these negative consequences happen: difficulties, frustrations, and disappointments.  Each person has his or her own Tao (a path of life). Flowing with the Tao means adjusting to the zig - zags of life. People who flow with the Tao deal with the oppositions to the Tao which include society, culture, and the crazy events of life. The oppositions are temporary and harmful to one self.

Tuning into one's productive self is another principle of Feng Sui.  A person who tunes into his productive self and his or her Tao discovers the desires that bring satisfaction and happiness in one's life and activities.  He or she is willing to make sacrifices and manifests the Tao through important activities.  Mr. Janetta uses his life as an illustration.  His children asked his father why he is not a CEO and has employment that would for a large wealthy house and many possessions. He told the theosophical audience that he lives the life of his productive self, which involves teaching, community, and service. He has learned he must pay the price so he can grow.

Death from the spiritual perspective is the next principle.  In physical death separation takes time hours and even days. Physical death is not only the stopping of the breath, but also involves moving consciousness out of the body. The important point is the person in death will have new experiences in the spiritual realms related to his earth consciousness based on his or her earth happenings and his or her earth view of the world and his or her self. The person also takes regrets for not living the life he or she was supposed to. In death all people encounter the light. For most people whose life is gloomy they cannot go forward toward the light, because they are overwhelmed by its intense brightness. The hungry ghost is another phenomena of death.  The hungry ghost is a victim of his or her appetites and desires.  He or she is so attached to his or her appetites or desires that he or she can be stuck in this physical world. Some things in this life that make for a hungry ghost: if one fails to succeed, if one harms another with a horrendous act, or one is over attached to a loved one.  The Western religions do not understand the real nature of death. Mr. Janetta's important point At the end of one's life, one must cleanse oneself of appetites and desires that keep the consciousness on earth.


Integrity is the most important principle of Feng Sui. A person who lives by integrity acts by what he believes and values. The focus of one's life is what one believes is good and right. To discover integrity for one's life one makes great efforts at contemplation and self-reflection. Without integrity one gives up one's time and effort.   


Preparation for the New Year

Preparation for the New Year most important task is getting rid of the junk and baggage and cleansing one's life. We work on three levels: physical, mental, and spiritual. We seek to find the essence of the previous year and let go of the junk and garbage. The purpose is to start the New Year fresh.

 Mr. Janetta explains the tasks of the preparation:

    (1) We should seek to clean up the materialism and other things of the environment that waste time and effort.  We recognize our culture places an excessive emphasis on moneymaking and consumerism. We seek to rid ourselves of cultural garbage and escapism of television, politics, magazines, newspapers, books, and movies. To be successful we need integrity and place great emphasis on nourishing the spiritual side of life.

    (2) We should examine the use of money. We should ask do we use money for consumerism? We, then, need to go on a financial diet, simplify our lives, and use our money in significant ways.

    (3) We should analyze the bad experiences that caused us suffering in the previous year. We seek to clean ourselves of the hatreds, resentments, and fears of these experiences.

    (4) We should examine situations where we failed to take responsibility for our own life, satisfaction, joy, and welfare. We also must take responsibility for relaxation and relieving ourselves of our tensions and fears.

    (5) We should look at our relations in the past year. We learn to discuss our situations with people we trust, and talk to social partners about our problems and their solutions.    

    (6) We try to overcome the life of many immature adults. The immature adults have children, have no purpose, and live lives of blind materialism and consumerism. We should ask ourselves what have we done to create a higher consciousness in our lives in the past year.  We look at our daily activities to see how they prevent us from living a higher consciousness. We ask ourselves what can we do to promote a new, higher consciousness.  We ask ourselves how much time and effort did we put forth to answer the important questions of life. These questions include: why am I here? ; what is the destiny of my life?; what brings happiness and satisfaction in my life; what is the mission of my life?; Do I have a vision for my life?

    (7) We ought to look for spiritual answers for our life. We should ask about the previous year: Did we find spiritual answers for our life? Did we discover a spiritual quest for our life? We look for answers in seminars, teachers, and books.  We have to be careful and not nave. We have to look within for answers.

In the preparation for the New Year Mr. Janetta emphasized that we go deep within to get rid of baggage and extract the essence of the previous year.


Planning for the New Year

Mr. Janetta stated that if we do not get rid of the baggage of the previous year it would prevent us from achieving our goals and a better life.   

 He said we need dreams and goals for a successful New Year.  He told his experience in Japan. People in Japan asked him about his dreams for his life. Mr Janetta said he felt sad and empty when he could not answer.  To discover these goals we need to dream in our awake consciousness. The goals must be bigger than our selves and outside our selves. The goals are to be seen as opportunities to live our lives the way we want to, for our growth, and founded on our values.

He warned his audience they must not be trapped by societal temptations especially consumerism.


I hope members of this audience will consider Mr Janetta ideas for the New Year and apply them to their lives. They promise to help us live flourishing lives.