Chapter One – Billy Bubble
The three-year-old boy only enjoyed being bathed when he could bring his boats and ships and rubber duck into the bath. Sometimes his mother put a liquid in the water that created mountains of bubbles, and then he would clap his hands ecstatically and attempt to grab one. Occasionally, his daddy was the one to bathe him and then he would hear stories about dinosaurs and forests, airplanes and whales, stars and galaxies.
Once, his daddy was telling him the story of the Big Bang; how an itzy-bitzy point grew to be this universe of ours, which is even bigger than a whole country. The little boy stared wide-eyed into the space inside his mind. But he wasn’t the only one whose imagination was set aflame by that story. He had been playing with a bar of soap and had managed to create quite a lot of bubbles, and one of those bubbles – let’s call him, Billy – was also enthralled by the cosmic tale. As the little boy followed his own thoughts, Billy decided on a bold plan. It was a big plan; in fact, it was a very big plan. He decided, then and there, that he wanted to become a universe! So, he held his breath and then blew it out with such force that he became several times larger than he had been. Success breeds success. So, he sucked in his breath again, held it for a few moments and then blew it out. He kept blowing until he was positively blue in the face and his lungs so empty that they had crinkled themselves like squished tinfoil. By now he was 20 times bigger than before. He was tired from all this exertion so he took a little rest. While he was resting he did a quick calculation and figured out he’d be a real universe by his seventh birthday. This felt good, so he set to his task once more.
By now he could feel himself floating up out of the water. His skin glistened with all of the colors of the rainbow, and he marveled at his spherical perfection. He could see the face of the little boy looking at him with admiration. This gave him extra motivation. He huffed and he puffed and suddenly there was a loud POP! It deafened him some, but the boy squealed in delight. Billy felt numb; worse still he felt gone. He felt that he no longer felt at all. It was the weirdest sensation. He had once heard the boy’s father ask teasingly, “Where does the light go when you blow out the candle?” Now he felt himself asking, “Where does a bubble go when its surface tension snaps?” He didn’t know. There wasn’t even a him to not know. There was nothing left to not know. What else could nothing do except not know?
Chapter Two – Bobby Bubble
Billy’s little brother, Bobby, had also heard the story of the Big Bang; and he had heard Billy disappear with a big bang all of his own. Bobby was sad for Billy, and he determined to keep his memory alive by fulfilling Billy’s dream. He knew, however, that Billy’s plan needed to be modified. He had a brainwave. He’d noticed that occasionally two bubbles would bump into each other. Mostly, they just linked arms but every so often they managed to merge; and then you instantly had a twice-as-big bubble without any huffing and puffing or strenuous breathing exercises. What if the entire bath of bubbles could be persuaded to join forces? He set to his task with all the eloquence and diplomacy at his command. Some bubbles were ecstatic, some dubious and a few downright hostile. He decided to begin, anyway, with the enthusiasts. Somebody pointed out that the bathroom itself would inhibit their plan because it would prove far too small for their ambitious merger. Bobby agreed. So, they determined to initially cluster in smaller groups, float out through the window of the bathroom and then mega-merge in the open air. And that is precisely what they did. Tennis-ball-sized clusters and even a few basketball-sized ones made it through the window. Merging on the outside proved a little trickier because it was quite windy out there. But eventually they all managed to dock successfully and, finally, a huge bubble, the size of a hot-air balloon, was floating over the boy’s house. “Hurrah!” shouted the mega bubble, with not a trace of the individual bubble voices left. “Hurrah, I am well on my way to becoming a universe. The trick was to think bigger than Billy and even Bobby!”
The hostile bubbles said, “Humph! Let’s see what becomes of their fine adventure.” But they never found out because the boy’s mother pulled the plug on the bath and they all got sucked down the drain – a black hole in space.
The little boy’s ten-year-old cousin was visiting and had taken his bow and arrow along for the ride. As they stepped out of the car his daddy said, “Oh, my gosh, will you look at the size of that bubble!” Before anybody could stop him the ten-year-old fitted an arrow to his bow, stretched it taut and released it with a “twang!” “Bobby” felt numb; worse still he felt gone. He felt that he no longer felt at all. It was the weirdest sensation.
Chapter Three – Benny Bubble
The youngest of the family was Benny. He had never actually known his brothers Billy and Bobby, but he had heard so much about them. In bubble lore they had achieved semi-divine stature. Benny had a greater plan than either of his brothers. He didn’t just want to preserve their memory or lessen his parents’ grief; he wanted to set all bubbles free. One day he floated through the bathroom window, all on his own, and came to rest under a bodhi tree. He was determined not to end his vigil until he had become enlightened. Day after day he sat in compassionate meditation. The winds blew but he clung to his spot beneath the tree. Someone closed the bathroom window, which meant that he could not go back; but still he remained steadfast.
And then he got it! Billy’s handicap was that his individual surface tension was his identity. He was a surface-tension-encapsulated ego. As the ego inflated it strained his identity to the breaking point. When it snapped, there was no ego left but no identity either. Bobby’s handicap was that the group’s surface tension was its identity. It was a surface-tension-encapsulated culture. When this boundary was pierced the culture collapsed and with it all sense of identity. Benny realized that the whole problem lay in identity. And he got it that any identity short of Ineffable Source is a time bomb waiting to explode. Benny was the Source experiencing itself as Benny. And Benny was able to experience as the Source. Source had also experienced Itself as Billy; but Billy had been unable to experience as Source. So, Billy had an expiration date. Source had experienced Itself as mega-Bobby but mega-Bobby had been unable to experience as Source. So, mega-Bobby had a shelf life.
Benny got it. “I don’t have to do anything. I don’t need to huff and to puff. I don’t need to merge. All I need to do is to let go of the surface tension of separation and Bingo! I already AM the cosmos.
The little boy now takes his bath in the bathroom in a small town in a large country on a tiny planet in a medium-sized galaxy in a universe that is called, “Benny the Buddha Bubble.”