Target shooting and meditation

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  • Not sure if this is the right place for this post - for years and years (since I was introduced to airgun rifle shooting age 4) I have loved target shooting of all kinds. I should probably make it clear right now that I have absolutely no desire to shoot anything living, to hunt, to basically hurt anything...however, I find target shooting an incredibly relaxing, almost meditative activity. I was in the Air Cadets when I was at school - I think they only let me stay in the cadets because i was good at winning shooting competitions - I hated all the "marching up and down the square" stuff. I haven't had a graden or anywhere to shoot an airgun for the last few years, but I recently bought a crossbow pistol, and the length of the loft space I have available, while not quite ideal, is long enough to allow me to relax and hit targets (some of the time anyway :) )....really, I was just wondering
    whether anyone else finds this kind of thing (or variants like archery) a satisfying form of meditation??? Just curious...

  • I can see the attraction in this. I would extend it to anything generally missile related when there is an object that has to move from point a to point b. The relaxation is in seeing the object moving down the expected path to reach the planned destination.


    This is not a military issue and would explain the attraction of snooker on tv or golf.

  • I find archery relaxing. I tend to be in chronic pain 24/7 and any distraction can be beneficial. I started throwing darts into a dartboard about 7 years ago, when the physiotherapist suggested I try to walk just a few paces and rest lots. This got me mobile and killed time. The air riffle I've grown up with. But unlike you, I can justify killing to eat, so wouldn't spend my time on targets.

  • I'm not averse to killing to eat - my dad used to shoot the occasional pheassant or rabbit which I remember enjoying eating when I was a youngster :) It's just that I'm not a great meat eater anyway (I'm not strictly vegetarian, but there's just not that much meat I enjoy), and I don't imagine I'd get the same sense of relaxation and focus trying to target a moving object - I can see it being relaxing in a different and possibly more focussed way, but I just find the act of targetting, getting my breathing right, focussing on the weapon, my arms, hands, and of cource the target itself to be a much better form of meditation for me than more traditional methods...as mathilda said, there's also something very satisfying about getting something from point A to exactly point B over a distance...it's probably a very old affinity for accurately throwing rocks, and then spears, and eventually firing arrows at a target to feed your family group back when we were hunter-gatherers. Or something :)

  • Out of curiosity AlicesWonderland, you mentioned that you suffer from chronic pain (which must be awful) so I can see that a lot of archery and crossbow shooting would be awkward (depending on what type / where your pain manifests - just cocking my crossbow takes pretty much all the energy I can muster in my arms, so for someone suffering any sort of joint / muscle pain it would probably be almost impossible, or at least extremely painful)....have you tried making / shooting a blowgun? I've experimented with loads of variants of these over the years (including one with both a laser sight and a paralax red-dot sight mounted on a weird flexible arm thing to put it in front mof my eye....kind of overkill, but fun anyway) and I find them quite good fun and relaxing, though not quite as much as the crossbow or other pistol type weapons due to having to expel a lot of air quickly, which kind of screws up any nice relaxed breathing pattern you've settled into.....

  • i used to do alot oftarget archery and was a national champion i used to know it the time of release if i had made a perfect shoot and it does give you a really good buzz. A good book to read is Zen and the art of archery it explains how shooting is used by zen monks.

  • I have a 150lb crossbow. It would go through a car. I never use it. My recurve bow I can only use on my good days,if at all. I have a kids/biginners bow which is just great fun to play with. I also have a pistol crossbow (for poaching pheasants out of the van window). Shooting I prefer a gas charged repeater like the rapid 7.

  • I'd love to take up archery, but at the moment I just don't have the room - I really don't have room for my crossbow, which has an 80lb pull - I'd be worried about a 150lb bow going through the wall and accidentally killing a neighbour....which would not be a good thing.. :)

  • I do not shoot, but I used to throw knives and found that if I was in a certain mental space, my aim was better. It was a mental space that I would now recognize as very meditative - clear-headed and not focusing on the knife or the movement of my body or the target - simply letting everything be, letting go. I do not think you are the only one, or like there is any reason for anyone to feel conflicted about using something that can be read as violent to achieve relaxation and pleasure. If you are not harming anyone or any thing (and, I suppose, for plenty of people who are... I have an uncle who shoots wild rabbit for food, he seems to find it extremely relaxing) it makes perfect sense for something which involves such a level of concentration without too much complication to induce relaxation and a meditative mind-state :)

  • [quote='mathilda','http://ukhippy.com/freakpower/forum/index.php?thread/&postID=1178410#post1178410']I can see the attraction in this. I would extend it to anything generally missile related when there is an object that has to move from point a to point b. The relaxation is in seeing the object moving down the expected path to reach the planned destination]


    Sounds like the sex education lesson we had in Catholic school back in the 60s! :angel:..Sorry mathilda,couldn't resist it:D

  • I guess ultimately, anything along those lines focuses the mind which is a major technique in meditation (using a candle flame for example).


    (Moving this thread to Spirituality - seems more apt!).

  • Oddly enough, this is also the attraction of golf, though I doubt many of the players realize it, and I certainly hate the spread of golf resorts destroying the countryside and using huge amounts of water. But the basic idea of cracking this small ball into a small hole a very long way away with a simple club is brilliant, and the feeling when you get it right is special, you know you've got it right the second you hit it. Not that I ever played or anything...:grin:

  • Oddly enough, this is also the attraction of golf, though I doubt many of the players realize it, and I certainly hate the spread of golf resorts destroying the countryside and using huge amounts of water. But the basic idea of cracking this small ball into a small hole a very long way away with a simple club is brilliant, and the feeling when you get it right is special, you know you've got it right the second you hit it. Not that I ever played or anything...:grin:


    I like to take irritated teens :curse:to the driving range, it has a strange effect on them,:wub: but I have to remember not to talk other-wise I may end up with a golf club scarf:panic:. They do try and hit the bunnies at the end of the range but not to worry bunny force field is in action.:pp

  • I love target shooting and i do it once a month at least with a mate of mine in his field , sometimes we string up a coke can and let it swing just to mate it a bit harder , and yes it chills us out know end . As for Golf :curse:its just a waste of a good Enduro track .

  • I love target shooting and i do it once a month at least with a mate of mine in his field , sometimes we string up a coke can and let it swing just to mate it a bit harder , and yes it chills us out know end . As for Golf :curse:its just a waste of a good Enduro track .

    No, no, the trick is to use the track for both, at the same time!

  • I really enjoyed playing with the bow and arrows at Dovedale this gathering. It helped me deal with pain when sitting down wasn't helping. Bending down to pick up the arrows was a problem. Next time I may take several dozen arrows. Just incase some hippy can't hit the target and the arrow floats down stream :D

  • I really enjoyed playing with the bow and arrows at Dovedale this gathering. It helped me deal with pain when sitting down wasn't helping. Bending down to pick up the arrows was a problem. Next time I may take several dozen arrows. Just incase some hippy can't hit the target and the arrow floats down stream :D

    maybe you should tie string on the arrows so if we need to rescue them we can lol :D . Thats both of us in trouble mate :whistle:

  • I can relate to this, more recently living in an urban environment initially meant I had to curtail my hunting/shooting and although I'm close to the sea and I can fish it's not the same. Fishing I'm just waiting, there's not the concentration, being aware of your own pattern of breathing, feeling the lull between heartbeats to release your shot. I sold my good hunting rifle a while back but I still have a cheap and cheerful .177 plinking gun and regularly set up an 8m range in the flat propping a couple of doors open with a back-stop of a few yellow pages(finally found a good use for them).

  • I used to shoot rifles (.22LR and .308 Winchester) competitively when I was at school, and afterwards at the local rifle club (only .22LR there). I found it incredibly relaxing. Thinking about my breathing, my pulse, having to relax every muscle in my body, feeling for any tension... closing my eyes for a second, relaxing completely without looking at the target, checking I was lined up with the target, squeezing the trigger within about 3 seconds of opening my eyes... reload, repeat!


    I can't afford a rifle of my own at the moment. I dislike using 'club' equipment - I'm left eyed for a start so using most rifles is a bugger because I have to move my cheek to reload the rifle, and the club 'scopes are set up the wrong way round for me, and so on... there is only one rifle that is even usable by me (the other rifles have shaped stocks that hurt my face...)... needless to say the shooting has tailed off for a bit. I'd really love to get back into it but it's a big investment to start off with!


    It is quite an amazing feeling to shoot a powerful rifle at long range. As well as being conscious of yourself, you know that a small error at this end of the range will have an even more noticeable effect at the other end (an inch misaligned at one end of the range is about 6 feet at the other end of a 600 yard range!)... and you have to be so conscious of the wind and weather as well! At super long ranges you have to correct for the rotation of the Earth! Isn't that a trip?!

  • I do target archery competitively. I am currently concentrating on the indoor distances in preparation for some major indoor competitions I have coming up. I have the British championships coming up in December and then in January I have the European Leg of the World Indoor Championships.


    Shooting indoors is a lot harder than shooting outdoors in some ways. Outdoors you have other factors such as wind that can affect the shot in different ways. Indoors it is just you and it is your technique that affects the shot. Get something wrong and you can end up hitting an 8 or 9 instead of a 10. In indoor competitions it is difficult to come back from that.


    I have done head to head Olympic style shoots and know from experience that these require you not only to concentrate and control the shot, but most importantly to focus on keeping your head. It is doing this I find meditating the most useful, it is keeping your arousal at a state where you are competitive, but not at a state that causes you to choke.