Atonement is the process of "making it right." When you act in a way that causes the suffering of others, when you cross boundaries, violate another's free will, engage in deceit and deception, enrich yourself at the expense of others, pollute, fail to adequately assess your actions, or otherwise cause a "mess" in creation (i.e. when you "sin") then, according to the Cosmic User Agreement, you are held responsible and expected to clean up you own mess. The more suffering you have caused, the more of a mess you have made, the bigger is your cleanup job.
LP Connection Framework Focus Points
Atonement is a necessary prerequisite to awakening and activation. Until you have taken steps to clean up the messes you have made, guilt, shame, and fear will block forward movement and your progress on The Path will be limited difficult.
One of the key components of the Alcoholics Anonymous framework for cure and recovery is atonement, making amends and reparation for harms done to others.
Note that atonement should not be confused with Punishment. Punishment is simply self-justified violence perpetrated against another living being. Atonement is clean up work pure and simple. In this context, you may atone for your sins in any way you choose, though ideally, you will work with (and for) those you have trespassed against. If this is not possible (e.g. if you are atoning for messes you have made in a past life, or if the people you have sinned against want nothing to do with you), then other actions are acceptable. Choose a course of action that you are comfortable with, even passionate about. For example, if you have polluted the environment, clean it up. If you have sexually molested children, work to heal and raise awareness. If you have engaged in the manipulation and centralization of energy (i.e. profit and accumulation), act to redistribute this energy to the people it belongs to. Let your consciousness be your guide here. The closer your actions are to the messes you created, the better you'll feel about the work you are doing.
Atonement was an important feature of peyote practice amongst the Winnebego. As one informant told Radin, "If a person who is truly repentant eats peyote for the first time, he does not suffer at all from its effects. But if an individual is bull-headed, does not believe in its virtue, he is likely to suffer a good deal."
- Alcoholics Anonymous. ‘PASS IT ON’ The Story of Bill Wilson and How the A.A. Message Reached the World. Kindle. New York: AA World Services, 1984. https://amzn.to/2XKQNP5.
- Radin, Paul. “A Sketch of the Peyote Cult of the Winnebago: A Study of Borrowing.” Edited by G. Stanley Hall. Journal of Religious Experience 7, no. 1 (1914): 1–22. p. 5.