I had a discussion the last night with a friend that said he didn't trust enlightenment. Once we got to talking, I realized that what he was doing wasn't all that far from what I was doing. The difference is I say that I seek enlightenment or Oneness and he says he seeks to understand. He is more comfortable with that word. That is okay by me.
When I started, I thought being enlightened was one big huge thing. Suddenly, you just knew, birds sang, trumpets sounded, maidens adorned your head with flowers etc. Well, it wasn't that bad but you get the idea.
Since I started, I've had little realizations. Small things really. Tiny moments of having a slightly better understanding of myself, the world around me, the gods, and the Great Universal It.
When I started, I was a huge schmuck. Now, I am much less of schmuck. Maybe I'm just a schmu. At least I may not rhyme with f--- anymore.
Jason Miller will tell you such work is faster through meditation. I have no basis with which to argue with him but I'm a magician not a monk. The trap, as previously mentioned in my recent post on the Golden Dawn, is that magick can be used to remain unenlightened.
It is possible to do something stupid and rather than learn from it, distract the world. It is possible to suffer consequences and then magick them away without examining the root the causes.
I can't tell you how many little spells, prayers and thoughts I've had over the course of the Work asking, What do I need to learn from this? It is a simple question that can yield hard answers. It is harder than doing magick.
For me, the most fun is when I encounter a situation in which I did the wrong thing and realized what I had done after the fact. Then as the universe keeps throwing the same situation at me, getting slightly better at it, noticing sooner but still failing etc. The first time one actually doesn't do whatever it is, is great. But enlightenment isn't marked by resisting temptation.
The marker is when you've been confronted again by the same set of circumstances make a totally different, and correct, decision without ever realizing it is the same situation AND never even being tempted to fall into the other habit. One is no longer tempted when that impure part of you is gone. The realization only comes when you look back and realize it was the same old test. That is fun. That is being enlightened. It is enlightened in only one narrow aspect of the self but enlightenment it is.
That makes it all worth it.