“What does ‘chuckle’ mean, Teacher?” asked one student after I had presented the class with a card of synonyms for the word laugh for use in their English Narratives.
I hesitated to reply because I knew that for me, chuckling is totally a physical experience and can only be understood by and in my body.
“That one’s a body word. We can look it up in the dictionary and see what it says, but it’s a word that we feel in our bodies,” I responded.
I continued to describe how I experience chuckling as bubbles that erupt from inside me and move from one place to another, like from my heart to my throat. The bubbles then ‘chuckle’ gently inside me like an effervescence, evident to no one else except myself. Quite different to laughing, which is more a shared experience.
The students nodded sagely, added the word to their weekly list and some affirmed they too would like to experience the word chuckle.
The following morning, one student burst through the classroom door, beaming in joyful exuberance, declaring “I chuckled! Last night I thought about a sentence I could write that had chuckle in it and I remembered something that happened and I chuckled! You were right, it was inside me; it was all in my throat, all little bubbles, bubbling up in my throat. I chuckled!”
We laughed together as we confirmed that chuckle is quite different to laugh and how it is completely inside our physical body. We were both in awe of how the experience of chuckling was almost identical for each of us.
No dictionary required!
I began to contemplate what does happen when we chuckle. I had a sense of change, of energy moving from one place in my body to another, and a sense of transformation.
I had probably only chuckled a dozen or so times in my life, and chuckling was for me almost a sacred act, one which could occur within a precisely timed context of inner transformation. Inner mirth is not at a premium in our world – we tend to laugh outwardly most of the time. This being so, I knew I would need to wait until the next opportunity to chuckle presented itself, and I would then observe very closely what occurred in my body.
Jonathan’s descriptions of his childhood and pubescent experiences associated with ‘love’ were so remarkably similar to my own that I began to feel a gentle, warm glow of recognition in my heart.
Fondly reading about mutual experiences of youthful folly from my current position of maturity, and feeling this wise, urbane acceptance of similar experiences also, I felt the little bubbles of chuckling start to effervesce in my solar plexus. The bubbles rose delightfully to my heart, where they lingered in the warmth momentarily, before rising to my throat. There I felt an, oh-so-subtle vibration, a smile gracefully curved my mouth, my eyes started to shine… and I chuckled very, very gently.
My heart seemed to open expansively as I felt the energy associated with those youthful follies and misunderstandings being transmuted in my body through a completely natural transformation by mirth* and joy.
Shortly afterwards I walked on the beach, feeling light headed, open hearted and in love with everyone I met.
Chuckle is one word that refuses to be pinned down by dictionary definitions and meanings and has to be lived and experienced in order to be understood in all its divine joy and glory.
It feels to me that we could all benefit from chuckling and what I have affectionately referred to as the gentle transformation of mirth*, and how lovely this feels in our body.
Inspired lightly by the word, and the act of, chuckling and by my joyful body, which aligns naturally to all that is True Joy. In appreciation of the teaching of Serge Benhayon and Universal Medicine who present that the body is the marker of all truth.
* ”Mirth: merriment or laughter” [Oxford Pocket Dictionary, 1984,p. 468]