When I was 15, I had what I would call an enlightenment experience. I'm very aware that I call(ed) it that because I am a lifelong atheist. A believer may call it being touched by god, or somesuch.
It was what some buddhists call false enlightenment, that is, enlightenment that comes about through trauma. Someone died, and I was distraught. I was crying and asking again and again, why? I think this impossible question mirrors the zen koan (the famous "what is the sound of one hand clapping?"). I would go over and over this question "why", looping through the same thought patterns again and again and then suddenly- pop! I knew. Just for a split second. Only it was more than knowing, I felt it. It wasn't an answer as such, just a total reasurrance that everything was okay. Whole-body-and-mind peace.
What I want to know is: what IS that? Why is it a response to trauma? What was happening in my brain and why? I wonder is it the same process that whips people up at revivalist meetings and other intense religious rituals? Has there ever been brain-scanning of people using the koan method of meditation, or in enlightened states?