It seems that liberation can be defined in two ways…
One is the liberation from suffering, which can occur here and now. This happens when we (as awareness/consciousness) awaken to our own nature as awareness empty of characteristics, and are no longer blindly caught up in the processes of the small self. This is typically a gradual process and a practice.
The other is liberation from the cycles of rebirth. It means that this fluid pattern of emotions/thoughts/behaviors – embodied in this particular small self – does not continue in another small self.
Of course, if we have the first type of liberation, the second is not neccesary – or even desireable.
Footnote: Even if there is rebirth of small self patterns, they are all manifestations of – and enlivened by – Big Mind. The consciousness that functions through them is the consciousness which is throughout the universe, although it becomes local and can become exclusively identified with the particular small self it functions through. In the first form of liberation, consciousness is liberated into its own nature. In the second form of liberation, it is only the temporary small self pattern that is liberated.