This title is misleading. We don’t “gain” enlightenment. Rather, the cosmic Self or presence wakes up to itself and we shed the personal me.
Losing our sense of who we are may seem a major loss. But we gain the infinite values of Self, so it can be experienced as a gain. And yet, we’re only gaining what we’ve always been. Now it’s directly known and ever present.
Our ability to sustain an opening to Self is based on how we’ve prepared the energy physiology with spiritual practices. This is both in Atman (consciousness or presence) and Sattva (purity or clarity).
Certainly there are a few who wake spontaneously with no actual practice, likely because of prior life development. But such people rarely go further into higher stages because the preparation isn’t there. The physiology can’t support it.
Also, they lack the knowledge needed to take the attention deeper.
This is the curious thing about the path. On the one hand, ideas can create concepts we identify with. Their rigidity can make them a barrier to progress. And yet, as Vasishtha observed in the 7th mandala of the Rig Veda, we have to desire Unity. This, so the attention goes there and helps openings to happen. For us to desire Unity, we also have to know it’s there. Self Realization itself can feel complete, as with other stages. If we feel complete, we may reject progress. I’ve seen examples of this many times.
We have to engage in the process and be willing to surrender deeper and deeper into source for the full enchilada to unfold.
There is an apparent doing. And yet it’s a doing to dissolve itself, a surrender of doing to just being. An apparent loss and an apparent gain into what has always been here.