When all you have is yourself, you have to be afraid. And yet if you really had possession of yourself, fear would not have any power over you. And if we're really honest with ourselves, we can see that presently we lose ourselves all of the time.
We are always trying to hold in place who we think we are supposed to be. That is not freedom. Being yourself is not the same thing as straining to be who you think you ought to be. Truly being yourself is an effortless act that does not require any straining, thinking, or planning. There cannot be freedom in planning how you are going to achieve being who you want to be. The very act of planning how you want to be seen by others is a prison filled with tension, confusion, and fear.
Freedom is not an intellectual concept. Freedom is the moment of natural release that is produced by an act of love. That is why freedom cannot be thought out and cannot be possessed. The thought-nature can never be free. Freedom already is, and it takes possession of the individual when the thought-nature is released.
Real freedom is understanding that you are already perfect as you are. All punishment and captivity in our lives is resistance to seeing ourselves as we are. We did not make ourselves. The only thing we have made is a wreck of our lives through imagining who we think we are supposed to be, and then spending our lives trying to live up to that mental picture. And we resist seeing ourselves as we are because it does not support the imagined self. We are unconsciously being deceived into participating in the creation of a world--through thought--that is disconnected, by its very nature, from actual creation.
We are given the capacity to claim our attention so that we become the instrument of that which we give our attention to. When we refuse to reclaim our attention, by default we are consenting to participate in a world that is the source conflict.
When we work to reclaim our attention, we are given the gift of being able to choose what we place our attention on. We would never knowingly choose to place our attention on something dark, like resentment, but that is where our minds are pulled when our attention wanders. Anytime we can remember, we have the capacity to put our attention on something higher than thought.