The seven states both lead to and are enlightenment. They are not expedients, to be later discarded. They are permanent. Enlightenment is these seven states; working together, to reduce suffering.
The way to enlightenment starts with mindfulness. Mindfulness is present moment awareness, without self talk and without imposing personal meanings. That is experiencing the now as it is. Mindfulness is the final step after the Noble Eightfold Path.
Investigation seeks out the characteristics, conditions, and consequences of phenomenon. While, mindfulness is passive, investigation is active. Without showing fear or indecision, it resolutely probes, analyzes, and dissects phenomena to understand their nature.
Investigation requires energy, which develops in three stages.
This is a pleasurable interest in the object. Rapture swells up, and waves of bliss electrify the body. The mind glows with joy, emotional arousal and confidence intensify.
With practice, all this subsides being replaced with a quietness that heralds tranquillity. Rapture remains but is no longer so reckless, and contemplation goes forward with self-possession and serenity.
Tranquillity brings one-pointed unification of mind. And as it develops, the seventh factor appears.
This is inward balance free from the extremes of excitement and of inertia. Energy counters inertia and restraint counter excitement. But when inertia and excitement are absent, there is the mind of equanimity. Equanimity is like an observer of a balanced experience where everything is just right. The mind is poised and balanced, watching phenomenon as they occur.