Charles Frode was a Trappist monk in a Northern California monastery, and it was there that he discovered three things that would turn out to be crucial in his life.
- He learned to meditate
- He learned to work on a farm
- He met a veteran monk there with whom he discovered an archetypal friendship
The call to a western monastery is a call to the desert where everything loose is stripped away. The monastic life is a life of physical labor; communal prayer and worship; and individual spiritual development through prayer, study, and meditation. Western monasticism is generally open to communication and exchange with other religious and spiritual traditions, particularly with Buddhism and Hinduism.
Frode can share his anecdotal experiences in the monastery, and the place that monasticism has in today's world of secularism, religion, and spirituality. He can also discuss his friendship with another monk that mirrors Herman Hesse's classic story of two medieval monks, Narcissus and Goldmund. That 35 year friendship inspired Frode's memoir, I Am Goldmund: My Spiritual Odyssey with Narcissus.