Sunday, September 22, 2013

Archery and Meditation

I don't sit and meditate but when I shoot, especially outdoors on an otherwise empty range, I often get to that place of a clear mind and focus for each shot that is so important for good results.  It's also one of the reasons that I enjoy this sport so much and keeps me relaxed when my week gets crazy. Those four minutes of inside head time for each end are only filled with the "run the program" mantra, waiting for the sight picture float into alignment and then boom. Repeat for 60 or 80 or 120 arrows. At the end of two or so hours of practice, you see a big change in most people with heads full of the daily grind stuff, to someone smiling, cracking jokes and shooting well.  Some people shoot to practice for hunting season and tune up new equipment, but I would hazard a guess that most of the die hards are out there to escape for a bit before returning to real life.

If your shots are being affected by distraction or nerves, pick a single word that you associate with someplace calming. A patch of woods up in the mountains, the ocean, a white rail fence that goes for miles. Associate that word with that place and repeat it in your head to bring you back to that mental picture for a couple of seconds. Then go back to your shot process with a calmer state of mind and more focus.

Zen in the Art of Archery, by Eugen Herrigel, is short read, but I pick up something different each time I read it.

Do you see your practice time as meditation, or something else?

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