According to the Yoga Sutras of Panajali, true and complete freedom is experienced when a person is no longer imprisoned by the five afflictions (klesas) common to all of humanity. These afflictions are: ignorance, ego, desire, aversion and fear of death.
The Sutras of Patanjali also lays out a crystal clear path towards achieving this ultimate freedom.
Verse 1:12 reads: "Abhayasa Vairagyabhyam Tanniroddah"
This roughly translates as "...constant and dedicated practice, extinguishes the obstacles to freedom."
Constant and dedicated practice? Constant and dedicated practice of what?!?
So here's the rub - we have to constantly practice these five things:
Recognizing that we are ignorant - that we don't know. This keeps us humble and inquiring.
Surrendering our ego. This keeps us right-sized.
Letting go of our insatiable desire. This give us serenity and peace of mind.
Experiencing the uncomfortable and painful. This gives us stregnth and endurance as we courageously face the distasteful and unpleasant situations and events in our world.
Accepting death as our inevitable and ever-approaching birthright. This gives us clarity in the moment as our end may come at any time.
Ultimate freedom means that nothing has power over me - nothing has control or "hold" of me. I am thus totally free to express my deepest creative self. I am not moved by fear, worry or doubt, anger, lust, pride, greed, etc.
Through constant practice ultimate freedom can be achieved - yet we must practice.
Om shanti shanti peace