Often, we think of awakening and "enlightenment" as a very complicated, very esoteric or exotic experience that only happens to very special people who go off to India and sit in a cave for 13 yrs or so! But one simple way of describing enlightenment would be to simply say it is the realization that "past" and "future" are completely in our heads and NEVER in our own direct, most obvious experience.
All we ever directly experience is NOW. We create past and future as a purely conceptual "reality" and then take them to be true reality. They are not. The only real reality you ever have...is NOW! It has always been so. It has ALWAYS been NOW! Obviously, if past and future are illusory, the "self" you have also created in your head is no more real! To exist, this "self" is entirely dependent on past and future. So, it doesn't really exist as anything more than a concept either.