Usually, when people think free, they think no tension. You can't stand up without tension. If you had absolutely no tension, you'd be on the floor. Standing requires things to align, certain tensions to be met. Same with the voice! To go higher in pitch, you need to either stretch the vocal folds or send more air through. Either way, this creates more tension. The mere act of opening your mouth is a tension!
The sound I'm training for requires A LOT A LOT ALOT of effort! I got ever closer this week, but I'm still a ways away from my ideal sound!