Josh Montgomery: How Can Shooting Be Meditative?

Shooting is not a hobby that just anyone engages with – it’s not easy and requires a lot of concentration to do it properly. Many individuals are bothered by shooting, as they see it as something loud and violent. Thus, they decide to stay away from it.

However, did you know that shooting can work just the same way meditation does? Yes, it might be totally different compared to sitting down and thinking about life, but it can have just the same effect. That being said, you can do some practice for .308 rifles and meditate at the same time.

Are you wondering how can shooting be meditative, given its nature? You will find the answer to the question throughout this article.

What Is Meditation and How Does It Help?

You’ve most likely heard of meditation, but although many people are aware of its existence, not all of them understand what it actually means.

Meditation is all about training to observe things without judgment, and build awareness – thus, you get a healthy sense of perspective. That being said, it’s not meant to help you become a new person, and it doesn’t require you to turn off your thoughts. What it basically does is teach you how to look at things without being judgmental, thus being able to understand them.

Moreover, you’re not only learning how to observe these things, but you’re also getting to know yourself better as a person and be at peace with yourself.

Shooting and Meditation – What’s the Link Between Them?

It’s hard to think of shooting as a way to meditate. After all, aiming a dangerous object and firing with a powerful sound barely adds up to sitting down and trying to arrange your thoughts.

However, you’d actually be surprised to find out that shooting is not as far away from meditation as it seems. Basically, when you first get into shooting, you are required to be careful and reflect on each shot, like it’s the only one you’ve got.

Whereas many newcomers in the world of shooting focus too much on scores and the target, that’s not the best way to go about it. Where your shots go is not as important – what matters is learning and mastering the technique. And this is where the correlation between meditation and shooting comes into play.

Through a Zen perspective, shooting focuses on the idea of getting the perfect shot – in other words, The Shot. That being said, the most important thing is to reflect and focus on each shot. Once you begin to work on getting better with your technique, you encounter the “Seven Defilements” of mind. With that said, you need to set them aside, which can be done through the Zen Art aspect of shooting.

For this, you need to practice all the time, and soon enough, you will notice that it’s not you who’s shooting the target – the right mindset is doing it.

Your aim when shooting is to polish and cleanse your mind of the everyday routine. This is pretty much the same as meditation, which focuses on arranging your thoughts and looking at them from a non-judgemental perspective. So, you are not only trying to master your way of shooting at the target, but you’re rather polishing the mind.

Shooting – Not Only a Sport

Nowadays, it’s not hard to see that people pick up shooting to entertain themselves, seeing it only as a sport. Whereas it is indeed a way to have fun and quite a unique hobby, shooting is more than that. It is used by a lot of people as a way to develop their mental and spiritual discipline. With that said, many individuals who wish to re-discover themselves pick up shooting, as the mechanics, equipment, and atmosphere are attracting them.

It’s easy to look at shooting like it’s just a game that only needs some skill. Still, the mind needs to be used a lot to get a precise shot, and that’s when personal development begins, especially in the first stages of learning the skill. In addition, shooting can be a great way to give you some peace of mind by letting you feel in power and it also helps you overcome your fears.

Why Should You Consider Shooting as Meditation?

Shooting can be used not only as a hobby but also as a way of life. It’s something that could help you find yourself and strengthen your mind. So, you can simply choose some days when you want to be alone with your thoughts and your rifles, thus trying to put your thoughts in order while focusing on accuracy.

Basically, when you are aiming at the target, you feel powerful, and suddenly your fear is gone. In other words, it’s building a lot of self-confidence and reduces anxiety, so it’s a great way to come at peace with yourself.

Moreover, it’s a way that allows you to see your strengths, as well as weaknesses, in a much easier way. This could also be obtained through usual meditation. As a result, it will be an easier task to work on yourself and improve as a person.

Over time, you will be able to sit back and observe your progress, and maybe even begin to understand other people and see them in a new light without judging them. This is the power that a hobby like shooting could have on you.

Final Thoughts

Shooting is seen as an unusual and dangerous hobby that couldn’t offer anything of value to those practicing it, besides entertainment. However, that cannot be further from the truth, as shooting can have the same effect on you that meditation does. It opens up your mind, allows you to work on developing a technique, while it polishes your thoughts the same way meditation would.

All in all, if simply sitting down and meditating is not too appealing to you, maybe you can pick up shooting. It has the same effect, and you will have a lot of great things to gain from it.

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2 thoughts on “Josh Montgomery: How Can Shooting Be Meditative?

  1. To those who think guns are offputting or who don’t like the expense, I would suggest using Josh’s philosophy and take up archery. The Zen is the same if quieter, and ammo is cheap as you re-use the same arrows. That is, unless you shoot one into a 4×4 and cannot pull it out. But anyway, I even bought a re-fletching kit so I could overhaul my own arrows. The Zen of being at one with the eye, breathing, arm, hand, bow and the target are pretty much the same, and the mastery of combining all those elements is pretty much the same.

    I had not done any shooting since graduate school and while at the Univ of Hawaii as a junior faculty member, I decided one year to fly back to the Islands from my family home in Upstate New York with my bow and arrows. There was a very nice range at Kapiolani Park in Honolulu and the other archers were very zen like. It was highly interesting.

  2. Interesting post. ‘Zen in the Art of Archery’ by Eugen Herrigel and R. F. C. Hull is still available too.

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