To my way of thinking, enlightenment is a radical discontinuity in being and experiencing, that results in a dramatic, sublime and unimaginable increase in comprehension, certainty, aliveness, self-expression, joy, love, and bliss.
Other words for “radical” are instantaneous, complete, deep, etc. And other words for “discontinuity” are break, shift, transformation, etc. Enlightenment is related to Ascension as a ticket is related to a theater. The ticket, when purchased, allows one access to the theater to watch the play. The more expensive the ticket purchased, the better the seat, so to speak.
Enlightenment constitutes the ticket that wins one access to a higher dimension. Ascension sees one go through a portal into that higher dimension.
The deeper the enlightenment, the better the seat in the theater of life it purchases. Some may end up in the back of the hall, some at the front, some in the boxes overlooking the stage. All are inside the theater watching the play but some have a more intimate vantage point.
Similarly some experiences of enlightenment may be of sufficient strength to gain us access to the Fifth Dimension, some the Seventh, some the Ninth, some the Eleventh. All have ascended but some have attained higher dimensions than others,
Enlightenment isn’t always accompanied by Ascension. Ramana Maharshi, though he experienced sahaja samadhi, didn’t leave his Third-Dimensional body behind for his Fifth-Dimensional light body, but retained the former.
It wasn’t part of his mission, I suspect, to simply enlighten himself and leave. It was his mission, I believe, to remain in the Third Dimension and teach.
What purchases the ticket may be guessed at but is unknown to me. For some, effort and discipline may be required.
For others, like Sr Ramana, none is required, probably because they did the work in other lifetimes or they came from much higher dimensions to begin with, to demonstrate the state rather than the work.
Still others, like Sri Ramakrishna came to demonstrate the paths themselves as well as the state attained. Ramakrishna followed many paths, usually only for three days. His life was viewed as a validation of all that was written in the Vedas.
Neither is Ascension a once-and-for-all event nor is enlightenment. Enlightenment is an ever-unfolding revelation and Ascension is an ever-progressive journey.
Enlightenment and Ascension, more enlightenment and more Ascension is the the Mother’s Plan for all of us to ever more fully realize ourselves and for God to meet God in successive moments of our enlightenment.