Back in the 1890s (but almost ignored) Rudolf Steiner made clear that freedom (such as free will') is actually the domain of thinking - in other words, it is not 'will' that is free, so much as thinking.
But not all thinking is free - nor even most thinking: but only that thinking which is free!
In other words, there is a kind of thinking in which we are free, and we know that we are free. And it is only there and then that we really are free.
One value of Steiner's philosophical writing, and that of Owen Barfield afterwards, was therefore to inform us of this fact of freedom in (a kind of) thinking; explain why it was the case that thinking was potentially the domain of freedom - and therefore assist us in the recognition, acknowledgment, and pursuit of freedom in thinking.
(At least, for those people who desire freedom - which is, apparently, far from everybody.)
Active thinking of any kind is indeed rare - mostly thinking is almost automatic... Almost, but never quite... because always there is some degree of choice and will that directs thinking down one path from the possibility of others.
This is why our thinking is always our responsibility - because we have chosen its path.
No matter how relatively-restricted the 'input' provided by our surrounding world, and no matter how deeply inculcated are our habits of interpretation; there never a single path of thinking, but instead are always many possibilities that must be chosen-between...
From deciding what (from all of reality) to attend to, and keep attending to; through how to interpret the data that comes-in, and what (if anything) to do about our conclusions - from a positive or negative evaluation, through to what physical action to take.
Therefore, because it is always a consequence of choice and will; thinking is never neutral, but always value-laden.
Thinking (even when almost automatic) is never free from responsibility; but always moral, aesthetic and concerned with the truth (even when, as often, the choice of thinking is to reject virtue, beauty, honesty - or maybe to choose their opposites).
We are always and necessarily choosing our thinking, and that thinking goes on all the time that we have any comprehension of the world.
Because; when thinking stops, as in deep sleep, the world loses meaning.
What actually happens is that - for most people, most of the time - chosen thinking is as automatic as possible. The choice is to align thinking with what is dominant in the external world, as it impinges upon us: official, media, and social.
In other words, people choose to direct their attention to... whatever people and powers at-this-moment are 'telling' them is important; and they think in ways (e.g. using values and methods) that they have absorbed from this same external world.
And, although alternative paths of attending and interpreting will always be presenting themselves from the vast external world and also from impulses and intuitions arising from within our-selves; and although these alternatives will challenge the ongoing schemes of attention and interpretation we have absorbed from externally -- nonetheless, habit and expediency mean that it requires only only a little will and choice to stick-to the mainstream-approved form of thinking.
Such 'mundane' thinking is unfree - and this unfreedom has been, and continually is-being, chosen.
We are - all of us - responsible for the mental enslavement of our own thinking.
So... the fact that it does require even this little will and choice means, on the one hand, that we are responsible, and to-blame-for, our habitual mainstream opinions and convictions.
Yet, because there always must be this irreducible element of will and choice; on the other hand, externally-controlled, unfree thinking can be changed: and freedom of thinking with a cosmic scope and creative power can instead emerge and be enjoyed - by those who desire it.
The method is simply one of willing a redirection of attention, and making different choices.
But for this freedom to be Good and not to be merely-arbitrary; and to motivate and energize the new thinking to overcome the old; entails that such redirection be motivated from that within us which is its real, true, virtuous and beautiful - because divine, and in contact with God.
We need to discover within us (because it is typically lost or even hidden, suppressed, rejected...) that true 'self' which stands beyond all external influence, and is the origin of freedom in thinking.
...And how do we do that?
Well, we start by wanting it; and wanting it is the basis for changing our will, our choices, and overcoming those massively-inculcated habits that currently prevent us from attaining freedom.
If we do not want freedom then we will not have it; because we will choose to be unfree, because that is easiest, most expedient: the default.
But if we do want freedom in thinking, then nothing on earth or elsewhere can stop us from attaining freedom; because that is precisely the nature of freedom!