Speaking for myself, prior to today, I’ve always used the word ‘enlightenment’ with caution.
I talk about it. I’m not afraid of it, or of anything that’s typically deemed ‘wu-wu’.
But with regards to myself, which you can see in many of my posts, I’ll usually qualify any discussion about enlightenment with something such as “I’m not Buddha” or “I’m not enlightened.”
Except that notion, the notion that one ‘must come down from the mountaintop with an unmistakable glow after achieving something very specific’ in order to be enlightened, might not be true.
It might be more true or correct to ask, why not?
Why not simply choose to be, or better yet, choose to remember, that you are already enlightened?
And that you can – unless you forget – choose to act accordingly?
Is there ever something that happens, some event that strikes like lightning which brings about a life-changing state of awareness?
Yes, there certainly can be. But from what I’ve heard, it is far more common (and practical) to ‘become’ enlightened over a long period of time, through a steady, consistent practice.
It – the path – won’t look the same for everyone. I can’t, that’s the point.
But it always involves a choice.