Rumi’s “The Guest House” in the key of Carbon

The Tones of Carbon

By Commons:Robert Lavinsky – File:Diamond-and-graphite-with-scale.jpg, CC BY-SA 3.0,

This recording is a sketch of the tones of carbon done by Xochi John on cello, Maya Bennardo and me on violin. There are two versions, one that is instrumental and another with a voice over with a poem by Rumi. Maya is a member of the new music duo, ANDplay  –  . Xochi is a cellist and Alexander Technique teacher –


The Guest House

This being human is a guest house.

Every morning a new arrival.

A joy, a depression, a meanness,

some momentary awareness comes

as an unexpected visitor.

Welcome and entertain them all!

Even if they’re a crowd of sorrows,

who violently sweep your house

empty of its furniture,

still, treat each guest honorably.

He may be clearing you out

for some new delight.

The dark thought, the shame, the malice,

meet them at the door laughing,

and invite them in.

Be grateful for whoever comes,

because each has been sent

as a guide from beyond.


The Essential Rumi: translations by Coleman Barks  ©1995

Carbon sound sketch with words.

Carbon sound sketch without words– A 7 minute meditation

Carbon is the 6thelement in the periodic table. In the human body oxygen, carbon and hydrogen are 93 percent of the mass of the body and 96% of the atoms. Here are some data from Wikipedia: Oxygen 65% of the mass and 24% of the abundance; Carbon 18% of the mass and 12% of the abundance; Hydrogen 10% of the mass and 62% of the abundance.

We are a carbon-based life form, and almost all life on Gaia is connected to this element. Carbon is in use everywhere within the body. Fats, muscles, proteins, connective tissue, cell walls, DNA, RNA, nerve cells – everywhere. The carbon that we use as fuel in the form of oil, gas and coal took between 100 million years and a billion years to form. It was how our earth stored the excess carbon that made the earth too hot to support life. Another way to look at this is that every day we release 11 million years of sequestered carbon into the atmosphere. The earth has a “fever” and fevers are used to burn off life that is unhealthy for the organism. Hmmm!!!

Carbon is soft enough to write with (graphite) and it is also diamond, one of the hardest natural substances. It is an element of transformation and connectedness. As carbon based creatures walking upon the earth, we also can be that soft and that hard. Is it from the carbon? Diamonds heated to a high temperature in pure oxygen transform to carbon dioxide—they simply evaporate! So given enough heat and oxygen we too can transform, even the hardest heart.

Diamonds have been used for millennia, 2500 BCE in China, 1500 BCE in India. The stone was often found on statues in India used for eyes or the third eye. The current mythology of diamonds being a crystal of love and devotion seems to be a more recent manifestation of the marketing industry. Early use focused on the diamond’s hardness as a tool. The formation of diamonds is an exploration way beyond the scope of this article, but, totally worth exploring if you have the inclination. Let it suffice to say that diamonds are formed at great pressures and temperatures at between 50 and 450 miles below the surface of the earth. There may be a diamond stability zone under the crust of the earth where the conditions are perfect for their formation. If so, we have a crystalline layer of diamonds floating in a shroud around the mantle that is collecting and converting the energy of this planet.

Terry Tempest Williams writes in When Women Were Birds.

“But what thrilled me most was the fact that millions of meteors burn up every day as they enter our atmosphere. As a result, Earth receives ten tons of dust from outer space. Not only do we take in the world with each breath, we are inhaling the universe. We are made of stardust.”

Another source of diamonds are meteorites. Microscopic diamonds formed in an unknown star. As we breathe, we breathe diamond dust, diamond stardust. Is it any wonder that we look to the stars with longing as our diamond infused breath longs for home. The stars are a cradle of creativity. All of the elements we know are first formed in a star. It seems that the misogynistic patriarchy has usurped the womb of the universe for itself and claimed that the Sun is our Father. When in reality, She is our Mother. We have so much to forget before we remember.