Some Gnostic-Neoplatonic Reflections
Even though our spiritual freedom was established 'at the origin of the Universe' - prior to everything that - we have voluntarily relinquished it in order to be born in material form, and then forgotten that we have relinquished it.
In order to reclaim this free state, we must undergo the arduous process of askesis, catharsis, praxis, noesis to receive the ‘spiritual illumination’ which corresponds with the anamnesis, the recovery of our true or original nature, that which is ‘always already the case’.
This explains the paradoxical requirement to ‘achieve what is freely given’ - in other words, although we are already free, we have long ago chosen to forgo this freedom and bind ourselves to the world of material existence. Therefore the ‘path’ is the process of un-forgetting or recovering the real nature. This is why as you progress on the path, the feeling is more and more one of 'coming home' rather than 'leaving home' - even if, in fact, you have left home in order to pursue it.