Korean pagoda with fans
Some spiritual cheerleading for myself, I hope it helps you.
The battle with the possible is to not trip up on hubris. While imagining that you can become enlightened, that you can significantly move towards enlightenment, you can slip into hubris. The overarching pride that leads to mistakes like Noah Levine's fall. He built an amazing movement, and it's still going in NYC with Dharma Bums, and Josh Korda, but it seems it's closing out west. Korda, I think got Dharma Punx so Noah started Against The Stream, which will be closing down.
To create a movement is amazing. Personally, I fell away from his teaching when I read he couldn't handle it in a monastery, and had to go to the beaches in Thailand. His father was a spiritual teacher, though his mother wasn't with him. I never really got the California punx over hippies thing.
But I've been on retreat with Josh Korda and also listened to his talks, and he's quite insightful. If I had more energy I'd be involved in his sangha.
Some joke that Sangharakshita had no charisma, so that his movement of the TBC can't be claimed to be built on his charisma. Since I've never met Noah Levine, I can't comment on his charisma. I have read 3 of his books.
As we watch men fall from grace as sexual exploitation becomes less allowed in our society, there is hope that we are building a more sane society in a time when things seem to have gotten out of wack. The rapid changes brought on by technology are straining humans ability to adapt and there are considerable growing pains.
The children's show Masha and the Bear, Masha says, "I didn't want to, I just did." I told my daughter she can't use that excuse.
"That wasn't me," is the refrain from a Brandi Carlisle song. "Did I go on a tangent?!"
I haven't read Man Against Himself by Menninger, of the famous Menninger Clinic, but the idea that we have many self defeating behaviors is a key one in my life. To act in one's own self interest is surprisingly difficult. We can lock it down and lose our inspiration and fluidity, dynamism. Or we can let loose and get messy. Life is messy. That sexual misconduct hurts people is terrible. Something that at it's best can transport one in a celebration of life and intimacy, can be twisted to harm someone. It's the age old problem--desire can lead us astray, and our irrational efforts to extend the unextendable, lead us astray. We forget to kiss the joys as they go by, and try to make out with them. There is another way. We need fans to feel comfortable, but chasing after comfort will ultimately founder on the fact that life is uncomfortable. We can train ourselves to not over chase comfort. Now I don't mean we don't work to be comfortable. I tend to try to go the extra yard to impress sometimes. Never forget the middle way between asceticism and hedonism.
(Levine's response in a video on FB can be seen here. He claims none of the people were students and he essentially told his board for directors, they investigated and found what he said was true. My therapist talked about people revealing their clay feet...)