If you want to be enlightened quickly, you must drop all resistance and drop arising resistance for extended periods of time with awareness, without judgemental attachment, without creating meaning when thoughts arise, and without labeling anything as good or bad for your own gain because when you do, you...
...attract more of those things.
Being aware of thoughts and not feeding into them is the biggest obstacle to enlightenment. This means watching your mind without getting involved in what it thinks and feels, just noticing it like someone watching a movie - without judgment - because everything that passes through your mind is important and nothing else.
It also means working on yourself day by day so that your positive qualities increase while your negative ones decrease.
In other words, enlightenment is a process, not an event, and it starts with self-improvement at a personal level. From there, you can help others improve themselves too.
The best way I know how to explain this is with an analogy: Imagine being in a dark room with no lights on. That's how most people are living their lives right now - they're completely unaware of everything going on around them.
Now, imagine turning on a light. That's what enlightenment is - it's seeing the truth about yourself and your life due to understanding something profound that removes all darkness.
Although attaining enlightenment is not an easy feat, you may get a bit closer to it every day. Being in the present moment, developing your understanding of life and the world around you, and meditation to extend your consciousness are all ways to become enlightened.
The best way to understand how enlightenment works is to understand what it isn't. Enlightenment is not Godliness, it is not heaven, and it is not a state of being where you are free from suffering. Enlightenment is beyond words, it is outside of time, and it is completely empty.
Enlightenment is natural when you realize that everything is illusion including enlightenment itself. Once you see through the illusion of reality, then nothing can hold you back from realizing your true nature which is infinite awareness itself.
In other words, enlightenment is seeing through the illusion of having a self. When you lose yourself in the moment-to-moment experience of life, you discover that you are not this body, mind, or collection of memories. You are pure consciousness experiencing itself through the window of the body.
When you live your life without expectations or desires, you are using up your energy on unconscious activities that pull you away from who you really are. By watching your thoughts come and go, you are ableing to see that they are products of your brain and have no independent existence of their own.
Meditation is not about getting somewhere else but about exploring where you are right now.
It's difficult to say when or how someone becomes enlightened because it is a personal experience that cannot be defined by others. However, there are features commonly associated with those who have found enlightenment. They tend to have a profound effect on other people and on society at large.
Enlightened people often use their knowledge and understanding to help others, usually without receiving any credit for themselves. They may also be known for their humility and lack of desire for material wealth. Finally, they will probably change the way you think about life forever.
When someone discovers what it means to be enlightened, this person can start a new life with different ideas about love, hate, morality, ethics, the meaning of life, and so forth. As far as we know, everyone who has ever discovered what it means to be enlightened has started a new life from scratch. This shows that enlightenment is not about becoming something new but rather about seeing things as they really are without judgment.