What is enlightenment? No one really knows. It's a poetic question that deserves a poetic answer.
It's not necessarily empirical knowledge, but it can be that if you wish it to be. Nor is it necessarily pure logic, but your mind may wish to process it as if it is.
Enlightenment can simply be happy feelings lifting us much higher than they ordinarily would. It's the breaking of the shell of our ego identity while we're simultaneously being present from moment to moment.
A person can be closed down and unaware of this concept. When that's the case, they're living completely in the material life, regardless of whether or not they have a belief in God or some type of spiritual life in their mind. Enlightenment occurs in the mind, but we can step outside of the finite mine and join with all of consciousness if we wish to. We can even sense the divine in the process.
What is the divine?
For one thing, the divine is mysterious. You might take your entire life to try to figure out who created everything and for what purpose. But then when you feel you have it right, your mind might show you something that brings you back to where you started when you first began contemplating divinity.
Yet it's not through the mind or through logic as such that you can really understand who you are: Such understanding comes through intuition and through the ability to feel. We have to be able to connect to our senses at the highest frequency possible to truly feel what is real. In doing so, we must relax the physical body, focus on breathing, and dissolve a sense of time.
Perhaps that sounds like something along the lines of withering away and dying. But that's not the case. The test of being alive in this world and reaching our fullest potential comes in a balance between what's truthful and real and what constitutes the pull of the physical body. Many practices can help us stay balanced and walk that fine line.
Throughout human history there have been many people who've had the innate ability to remain in such a highly conscious state. And of course there have been many others who struggled with the ability to do so. But people who have had access to such a high conscious state realize that they have a duty to try to help others liberate their minds.
Such people do not offer help from a sense of attachment, nor from a desire to attain more than what they’re entitled to by harming others in any way. Harming others is a violation of the laws of the universe. And violating such laws causes chain reactions that will cause events to happen that eventually will be detrimental to those who perpetuate the harm.
In mentioning this I'm not writing about morality as such. Rather I'm suggesting the merits of trying to reach the highest rung of what I’d call a “ladder of intelligence”: I'm suggesting recognizing that the smartest way to live is to continuously show compassion and free yourself of unnecessary attachments. Doing so as you go about your daily activities will lead you to the enlightenment that you seek.