My Theme: Yoga. For those of you who don't know, I've been working on obtaining my yoga teacher's certification for the past year and am just a little over a month from graduating with my RYT200. As such, I figure there's no better way to spend this month than teaching you folks some of what I've learned.
Raga is the condition of wanting and one of the four types of avidya that cloud one's perception and prevent them from seeing things as they truly are. Raga creates suffering because it keeps one perpetually craving something other than reality.
In the classic sense, raga only leads to more raga because when we get what we want we just go ahead and start wanting something else. It's a cyclical pattern, a snake eating it's own tail, and it is one of the root causes of all human suffering.
In the Buddhist philosophy it is the primary cause of all human suffering. Yoga sees a few other forms of avidya that contribute (including fear, avoidance and ego)- but either way it's important to understand how it impacts one's life.
Raga isn't just about wanting what we don't have, it's about not wanting what we do have. And it is usually brought on by comparison and described in "should"s. For example "I should make more money" (the classic desire issue), "I shouldn't be freaking out over this" (the comparison issue, in this case based on the assumption that someone else in this situation would be handling it differently) and "I shouldn't have to deal with this" (the flat-out denial issue).
Every form of wanting creates suffering because every single form argues with reality, with what is. This is where that quote comes in: it is what it is. It's a reminder to not let ourselves get sucked into this trap. And, if you want to get spiritual about it, it's reminder that we already have everything we need. Freedom (the opposite of suffering) come abut when we stop arguing wit reality and accept what is. Because once we accept, then we gain the capacity to change it. And yoga, needless to say, helps us do both of these.