The Subtle Practice Of Fear

Have you ever studied the subtle movement of fear inside of your body?

What if you can turn your experience of fear into a transformative Practice?

And change its relation to you in a way that leads to continuous growth instead of paralysis?

What do you feel when you experience the movement from certainty to uncertainty?

From the know to the unknown.

From understanding to confusion.

From grabbing firmly to letting go.


…is like a branching river that returns

and originates from the same dense source.

What do we find when we paddle along this stream of emotion/information/experience?

And more importantly,

how can you safely study it without taking excessive risk?

Marcello Palozzo created a powerful approach towards this paralyzing entity

through his fear-preparedness matrix.

(This illustration is copied from his work).

Practically, you can move yourself up the ladder of fear.

Low preparedness and a low sensation of fear will put you at the bottom of your ladder.

For example, walking backwards in a busy street.

High preparedness and a high sensation of fear will put you at the top of the ladder.

For example, walking on your hands in a busy street.

How can you start?

Within this matrix you can work with various vectors.

Duration – Spend time with your fear.

Task: Spend time 5-10 minutes on a surface high enough to elicit a fear response.

Complexity – Add a technical layer or skill to the duration.

Task: Juggle 2-3 tennis balls at the same height until you experience the same motor control that you would experience at ground height.

Intensity – Increase the sensation on a scale from 1-10 to anything above a 7, until you experience the uncontrolled opening of the floodgates.

(The ability to pinpoint this stage comes with repeated practice/exposure).

Task: Move to an even higher surface or use an arm-balancing progression (e.g. frog stance, static qdr or a handstand) on a high wall.

Beyond the ‘technical/methodical approach’ there are multiple philosophical questions towards the concept of fear:

Do we need to ‘change it’?

Do we need to ‘name it’?

Or is observing ‘it’ enough?

Here you see a video addressing duration and complexity:

Here you see a video addressing intensity:

The practice of fear cannot be captured in ‘books’ or words.

It needs to be experienced through defying moments.

Practice-based fear work goes beyond mechanical incremental growth, it touches upon a process of evolution

hidden, emerging and continuous transformation.

And the ‘true wet test’ always comes in ways you don’t expect.

But when you are ‘ready to learn’,

you will find something on the other side of fear…

…something ‘subtle’ beyond words.

Wishing you a practiceful day,


PS. This article is directly influenced by the masterful work of Marcello Palozzo. None of these ‘tasks’ should be executed without the proper guidance of an experienced professional.