Excerpted from "Vastu Living: Creating a Home for the Soul" by Kathleen Cox. Appears courtesy of the publisher, Marlowe & Company.
The Vastu Home
A vastu living home should bring us pleasure when our eyes gaze over each space, including the kitchen and the bathroom. And this pleasure should be deep and internal, creating a sense of well-being whenever we are inside the home or walking around the property if we live in a home that has land.
How do we achieve this level of pleasure? When we start the process of turning a house or apartment or loft into a vastu living home, we make the entire space cohesive, and express the concept of interconnectedness. Whether we live in a studio apartment in the city or in a house in the country with lots of property, each area within a space and the collection of spaces should feel interlinked and part of the whole. This connection should also extend to the land that immediately surrounds the home. We establish this connection by 1) honoring the five elements, and 2) honoring our personality and the personalities of the occupants, and establishing their identities in our space.
Harmony in Themes and Patterns
From a small apartment room to a home with multiple floors, it is important to establish themes or subtle patterns that move through the space. Choose two or three of your favorite colors and let them flow through the décor of the home. Use them in different ways--sometimes as a dominant color painted on the walls of a room or incorporated into the wallpaper; sometimes as a secondary color in cushions, in a rug, in the table linen, or in the window treatment. You may, of course, use more than three colors in your home. The idea is to have your favorite two or three colors reappear in different ways throughout the interior. This recurrence creates an appealing rhythm and unites the many spaces or rooms into one cohesive whole that is identified with you.
|Our dwellings should reflect the rhythm of the universe and our connection to all of nature.|
You might take family heirlooms or a favorite collection and display treasured items in your various rooms. This relatedness again creates cohesion and harmony. The conscientious and deliberate continuation binds you personally to the home and makes you feel that the home is part of you.
Over time, as your personality gets incorporated into your home, you will feel this harmony and rhythm wash over you and slowly remove your tension.
Vastu recognizes that our dwellings should reflect the rhythm of the universe and our connection to all of nature. And there are so many ways to do this. You can bring plants and natural products, such as clay pots, jute baskets, sisal rugs, or dried flowers, into your home. This is an easy way to create harmony between the interior of your home and the world outside your home, especially if you live in an asphalt jungle. When nature feels remote, we must give it a presence in our home.
Nature brings its own rhythm to the home. A plant, for instance, has its cycle of life. The sun also has its universal rhythm that connects to all life forms and sustains us. We all react to the rhythm inherent in the sun's daily movement and to its more subtle annual changes, which affect our climate and seasons. We look forward to the gentle morning sun, if it flows into our home, and to the benefit that comes from the earliest rays.
The sun is symbolic of spiritual light and enlightenment. When Hindus face the east to pray or meditate, they are paying homage to the sun. In vastu living, if we face east when we study or read, we are more likely to absorb knowledge. Many Hindus who practice vastu, especially students and scholars, even prefer to sleep with their head in the east, so that they can soak in enlightenment and inspiration during the nighttime. Many Hindus face east when they bathe in the morning. Their bath is considered an act of cleansing that includes spiritual purification.
Nighttime activities occur in the west, the realm of the setting sun and the point where the journey leads into darkness and finally back to the quiet reawakening of the sun. Your own body follows this same rhythm. The majority of us prefer to work in the day and sleep at night. When your home acknowledges the natural harmony that defines the universe, your home also reinforces the natural harmony that exists within your self.
Make Room for Peace and Serenity
An essential part of any vastu living home is a zone of tranquility. In a Hindu home, this zone would be a puja (prayer) room. Our zone of tranquility is a place where we can quiet down and our body can relax, where we try to forget our stress and anxiety and negativity. This is a space where human-made problems are left behind like a wet umbrella at the door. If you have the space to devote a whole room to the tranquility zone, you might want to create a personal shrine for it, some focal point to honor a deity or someone who for you symbolizes compassion, love, and inner calm. Your zone of tranquility should be a place where you can shut the door and meditate, do yoga, or just concentrate on rhythmic breathing.
If you do not have the space to allocate an entire room or a fair-sized area in a wall-less space to a zone of tranquility, you can set up a zone within a quadrant or set up a couple of quiet places in other rooms. A zone of tranquility can celebrate an aspect of nature or a source of inspiration that becomes the focus for your eyes at the start of meditation. It can be a rocking chair placed near a window with a view of the sunrise or a graceful tree by a pond. It can be an easy chair by a side table with a small collection of seashells found on the shore or special stones carried back from a hike or trek. If your home is limited to one small room, you can just take a mat or a towel and unroll it to create a temporary designated zone of tranquility, near a special photo or special hanging on the wall.