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Manchester Research Network on Love

Thursday, February 8th, 2007 @ 1:41 pm
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Posted in  General, Personal Process

It has been a while now that my relationship with research and the counselling field in general has been one of ‘love and hate’, in the sense that it has brought so many intense responses in me that I often wondered ‘what is this all about?’. There have been times that I felt ‘in love’ about being a counsellor and researcher and other times that I have felt (maybe also feel like this now) that I have ‘fallen out of love’ with it, that it is too hard work and I’d rather have some peace…somehow. As I was thinking about whether ‘I shall love my PhD’ in order to manage to do it, an interesting email come through my mailbox, about a research network on Love. Here is how they describe themeselves:

” Dear all,

 You may already have heard of the new research network on love that we have been setting up in the Humanities.  We have received quite a number of inquiries from graduate students already and we would like to take this opportunity to formally invite you to join the network if you are interested.

 So what is this about?  Well, whilst love seems to be everywhere in our everyday lives, it seems to be overlooked or even denigrated as a possible research focus in any number of disciplines, though some are more hospitable to this theme than others.  Our analytic strategies and research methodologies are supposed to be informed by rationality and taking love seriously poses a challenge.  Still, love is not only already there, in our research, even when we do not acknowledge it; there are those of us who do explicitly work on love (sometimes in the guise of friendship, grief, mourning, hate).  What is more, love does not belong to one particular discipline, making it a uniquely interesting topic for an interdisciplinary research network.

 Our interest in love is prompted by a series of questions (which is meant to be illustrative, not exhaustive):


-How does love matter?
-How has the word ‘love’ been lost in so much work that addresses people’s relations to each other?
-How does love already underwrite the research that we do?
-How do people make space for researching love?
-How does taking account of love affect research methodologies?
-How is it possible to write, as a scholar, ‘with’ love?
-Can love be known?
-Is love an emotion?
-What are the (dis) continuities of experiences of love across time and cultures?
-How is love represented?
-How do notions of love inform ethics? 

If these are questions that resonate with you, you may wish to come to our first workshop on 16.2.2007″

As Iwasreading this invitation again today, I logged in Baba’s website and read the following ‘thought for the day’:

“You can get the feeling of yearning for the Divine only if you get a taste of the Prema (Love) of the Divine. That is why I have come among you – to give you a taste of that Love so that the yearning for God will be planted in your hearts. Mastery over mountains of information has been attained by man now, but wisdom has lagged behind. Hence, man’s capacity to probe and progress into the realm of the universal and the Absolute has to be developed. He must realize the truth that man’s distance from Divinity is the same as his distance from himself. “

When meditating today, I was also thinking that I need to cultivate ‘love within’ so that my life, and my research or whatever else I do, be meaningful. I do not want all this to sound naive but I guess I am feeling that we spend somuch time in research ‘scrutinising’ the essence of phenomena under investigation and my hope is that I do not lose my ‘true direction’ during this journey

As for ‘loving the PhD’, at the moment it feels like I shall begin by loving myself first a bit more so that I can find the ‘flowing’ researcher’s voice in my writings

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