To become enlightened, all that must happen is for you to simply realize that you already are.
Many people conceive of enlightenment as some grand, fantastical achievement. A goal to be attained, in a moment of beauty and wonder. While it is wondrous and beautiful, it is wrong to think of enlightenment as an achievement. Enlightenment is not some lofty goal, some prize to be gotten.
Enlightenment is a state of being. And, you already have it. Actually, it is the most fundamental, essential quality of your being. Enlightenment is your nature.
However, for most people, this nature has been concealed. It has been deeply buried beneath illusions and untruths. It has been covered up by your socialization. It has been overtaken by your “ego”. It is likely true that, at the moment, you define your “self” as some combination of your body, your physical being, and your mind, your thoughts/opinions/beliefs/values. The ego is this illusion that “I” am comprised of body/mind.
The idea that there is a “me” is really just an illusion- you are one with the totality, you are the universe experiencing itself, through itself. As I explain in this article, you are not your body, and you are not your mind.
Once you see through the illusion of ego, immediately this false self erodes, turns to dust. The deep roots of false identity begin to untangle. Slowly, steadily, your identification with your thoughts crumbles away. “I am republican, I am democratic, I think abortion should be legal, God is real, dogs are better than cats”… any and all beliefs, opinions, prejudices, biases… they all mean nothing once you see that there is no “self” to hold them or defend them.
With the crumbling of the ego comes the shining through of pure consciousness, of empty and still awareness. This is enlightenment. Congrats, you made it. With your mind cleansed of all the prejudice and bias and beliefs, of all the unreality, of all the illusion, you step out of the dream world into reality. For the first time, you look around, and you see truth. Awareness brings you life. Your experience becomes more vivid and intense than ever… and you keep on doing your dance.
We are born this way. When you were one day old, you did not yet have any sense of identity. You had no opinions about politics or religion or government. You didn’t even know your name. Your consciousness was unblemished. You looked upon the world with clarity, and saw reality.
But, you were also not self-aware of this enlightened nature. It is only after one transcends the ego, the false self, that one has the intelligence, the perspective, the wisdom, to bring this purity into the light of awareness.
Enlightenment is not some magical, mystical state, far beyond normal experience. It is as “normal”, as honest to this reality, as can possibly be.
The only difference between you and an enlightened being is that their life is filled with joy and bliss. Once one transcends the ego, one strides through life easily. There is never any resistance to what is- because there is no “self” to resist anything. There is no “self” to judge anything as good or bad.
There is just that witness, that awareness, watching the world go by with awe and wonder and joy and love.