Dragon Heart-Tiger Mind: Working Through the Pain

*Baby Doll from Sucker Punch* Her character embodies the mind/body connection with regard to pain.

*Baby Doll from Sucker Punch* Her character embodies the mind/body connection with regard to pain.


I assess the power of
a will by how much
resistance, pain, torture
it endures, and knows
how to turn it to its

…Friedrich Nietzsche


The infamous poet and philosopher Nietzsche (1844-1900) recognized the necessity of will power. Enduring pain is a major part of being human. At times, pain can seem unbearable, still without pain, true pleasure can never be experienced.

Yesterday I made a stop by Sunflower Market to pick up a few snacks, water, and some Tiger Balm. Over the years I have relied on the balm to get me through some of my physical injuries. Like many, I have a demanding life. Between the gym, home, and work, it seems like I gotta lube up with the extra strength every night. In passing through the line, my Tiger Balm caught the attention of the woman ringing me up. She asked what I was buying, and I explained. I told her I have been working out for years, and that this stuff “was the best.” The little man sacking my snacks happily added “people swear by the stuff!” The woman looked again curiously at the small glass container, shrugged her shoulders, and insisted that she would “just work through the pain.” And so we must. On my drive to work I thought about how I work through the pain. I wondered how others worked through theirs? We all have pain. In my bag, I had some balm to rub on my wrist, but there is no balm for the mind…

The extra strength Tiger Balm I picked up yesterday...

The extra strength Tiger Balm I picked up yesterday…

So what is pain? Dictionary.com defines “pain” as “physical or mental suffering” or “to hurt.” On the contrary, the phrase “feel no pain” means “to be intoxicated.” Intoxicated by what? Drugs? Alcohol? Maybe… That can work sometimes for a temporary fix, but the pain remains. What is the true intoxicant and natural painkiller? If you want to kill pain, endorphins can help you work through. Bring on some heart, and some endorphins, and you could be a painless super hero! The natural pain killers are similar to opiates (peptides our bodies produce). They can alter, and can even block the perception of pain. The word endorphin is actually a combination of two words- one of which is morphine. I guess the natural painkiller thing makes sense right?

Now that we can sort of define pain, how do physical and mental worlds fuse and/or diffuse to promote or demote pain? The September 2009 issue of Scientific American Mind featured an article titled MIND on Pain: The Psychology of Pain. The article was written by Howard L. Fields. The author talked about how “pain reaches into our psyches.” Ouch! Yeah- it does… Fields said that “our expectations, mood and perspective on pain powerfully influence how much something actually hurts—and the decisions we make every day.” I couldn’t agree more. In his research, Fields discovered that “most people think of pain as resulting from physical injury or disease, but psychological factors play a huge role in pain perception.” Anybody ever seen the movie Sucker Punch? I love me an amazingly strong, still beautifully soft woman. The Baby Doll character completely embodies the mind/body connection. If you want to see a hot movie about displacing mental and physical pain, that is one to watch.

Oh- and what about the US Pain Foundation mission? The foundation is on a mission, “empowering fulfillment, despite the pain.” I use the heart of a dragon, the mind of a tiger, endorphins, and Tiger Balm to work through my pain. In the end, I respect and appreciate my pain. Pain makes me a better person. The steady sting makes me run faster, push harder, inspires my creativity, and makes me a better writer. That’s how I work through my pain. How do you work through yours?

Explore posts in the same categories: Articles, Authors, Body and Mind, Connection, Creativity, Disconnection, Edification, Energy, Fitness, Movies, Pleasure and Pain, Pop Culture, Positive Energies, Psychology, Quotes, Random Ramble, Research Papers, Studies, Workout, Worthy Reads, Writers

5 Comments on “Dragon Heart-Tiger Mind: Working Through the Pain”

  1. No balm for the mind….awesome!
    I work through the pain through movement, breath, sweat and when I absolutely must….rest. Never used to be good at “resting.” I read the most incredible book back when I was in physical therapy, called “Explain Pain.” It was a weird, goofy illustrated spiral bound book that for some reason cost nearly $80. My PT loaned it to me, and it changed my entire perception of pain. Whereas before I was afraid to move….I now am more afraid by what happens when I don’t.
    La Cucaracha

  2. Nietzsche… I hate this guy… 🙂
    cynicism without a heart…

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