Gunpowder Meditation​ – What It Means

When trying to think of a name for this site I went through several variations before deciding on Gunpowder Meditation.  I realized recently that I’ve never explained what it meant to me and many may not understand it.

One of the definitions lists for “meditate” is: “To train, calm, or empty the mind, often by achieving an altered state, as by focusing on a single object…” That is how I’ve always looked at mediation, a calming of the mind eliminating all useless thought and being completely in that moment. It’s incredibly hard to maintain that state of ‘Zen’, if you will, for extended periods of time. I most easily reach that state through shooting.

When shooting a match for example, I step into the shooters box, load and make ready, take a breath and clear my mind. The range officer says “Shooter ready, standby!” and in those moments before the beep there are no thoughts running through my mind, I’m completely relaxed. For all intents and purposes the people standing behind me have disappeared and I’m standing there completely alone. At the beep my body seems to move on its own without any conscious input from me, the gun finds its way into my line of sight and my eyes focus on the front sight.

The rest can be a bit of a blur as you continually process and respond to massive amounts of information being processed by your brain, yet with minimal conscious thought. Some may experience a sensation of time slowing down but when it’s over it feels like a snap of the fingers.

I live for those moments. I’m not worried about an upcoming bill I have to pay or a work project that’s almost due, I am at peace. It may sound corny but those few seconds are like a mental vacation. It doesn’t always happen though, sometimes a person has too much weighing them down or they make a mistake in a match and can’t mentally recover. But, when you can get ‘in the zone’ and experience the Zen of shooting it is a great feeling!


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