Over 6 billion kindnesses served daily.

I'm not a very religious person.

Raised in a Christian country, my family practiced a mildly orthodox version of the Catholic faith, including the requisite sinners, saints, holy days, miracles and the value of a good education.

In a class on the impact of the black plague during freshman year in college, I discovered that the Bible had more authors than the Reader's Digest. Much to my amazement I also learned that there were multiple "versions" of all of the stories. (And that one of the crusades promoted the opportunity to kill off competing authors. Talk about cut throat publishing practices!)

Digging a little further into history, virtually all of those stories - addressing the same mysteries - were actually floating around the world in oral traditions before writing was invented.

Thanks to the vibrancy of these oral histories and the commonality of the lessons, it occurred to me that literal translations weren't going to hold up for me. Maybe more like guidelines?

As an adult, I appreciate the highly personal and diverse interpretations of natural phenomenon and human behavior. What anyone chooses to believe, might in fact be true - for them - and for anyone else who needs to believe it.

As the Australians might offer "good on ya" or in Florida "whatever floats your boat".

If someone needs to have found the answer, I'm okay with that.

At this juncture, I accept the mystery. And that cruelty is a non-starter.

If I had a personal creed rattling around in here somewhere, I'd probably go with kindness.

Too short? Not enough guilt and damnation? Too easy?

Trust me.

Kindness is a lot harder than it sounds. And it isn't an original idea.

Kindness - charity, generosity to foe and friend, self, stranger and family - is foundational to the practice of all the world's religions and faiths. Some begin with self kindness, others with broader incentives or motivations.

It comes with directions, rules, laws, mandates and even youtube videos.

Depending on the scripture, the goal of kindness might be an E-ticket to a postmortem paradise, a leg up on the material plane, payback for earlier selfish acts, or exchanged for a future upgrade on the jet stream of reincarnation.

The Buddhists pull it together through the "metta" practice. Christians proffer multiple variations of the "golden rule" (the first version, not the one about the gold).

The Hindus set up principles for a good life around "ahimsa". The Jewish faith points to "chesed" and laws of "gemilut chassadim".

Islam gives both obligatory - "zakat - and voluntary - "sadaqa" - directions for the practice of charity and kindness.

New Age philosophy suggested a "random acts" approach.

With all this focus, how is practicing kindness still so difficult?

My thought is that if something doesn't make it on the agenda, it doesn't happen.

And when was the last time you saw "be kind" on the agenda?

Okay, so maybe in your house of worship, but does it make it out of the building?

Is kindness on the agenda for others, but not for you?

How's that working for you?

How might our lives be different if kindness were at the top of every agenda?

Buddhist "metta" practice http://bit.ly/1yU6pX
Hindu "ahimsa" http://bit.ly/O5iRm
Jewish "chesed" and "gemilut chassadim" http://bit.ly/uwjKx
Islamic "zakat" and "sadaqa" http://bit.ly/pptVi

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