When Jesus says “The kingdom of heaven is like…” he is not speaking of a physical place.
The word "kingdom" here is being translated from the Greek word βασιλεία (basileia). Here is what the lexicon states regarding its meaning: "royal power, kingship, dominion, rule: not to be confused with an actual kingdom but rather the right or authority to rule over a kingdom."
Jesus is speaking of the Supreme Being's dominion - His ultimate authority. So the kingdom of heaven relates to the consciousness of accepting the ultimate authority and dominion of the Supreme Being. This means essentially taking shelter.
You see, during ancient times, kings fought with each other over territory and people. This meant that in order to be protected, a common person had to choose to take allegiance from a particular king - in order to gain that protection. This was essentially taking shelter of that particular king.
This is what Jesus is alluding to - except that he is requesting that people seek the shelter and protection of the Supreme Being: By accepting His authority and dominion.
This also means accepting our own position as one of God's loving servants.
For many of us, this acceptance is practically non-existent, because we are currently focused on the glitter of the material world and our self-centered desires.
Unfortunately, we who have taken on physical bodies have done so because we abandoned our original loving service relationship with God. We became self-centered, and as a result, the Supreme Being allowed us to exercise our self-centeredness by taking on a temporary physical body and pretend to be someone we are not.
This is because we wanted to enjoy as God enjoys. We wanted to be the center of the universe. So our loving Friend God gave us a place where we could forget Him and pretend to be the center. Now the question is, how do we return home, back to our loving relationship with Him?
The real question is, have we actually made the decision to return home yet?
This is the sum and substance of Jesus’ parable.
The “man” and “owner” of the field symbolizes the Supreme Being. The field is His, and this is His creation.
The "owner's servants" and "harvesters" are the Supreme Being's loving servants and messengers, such as Jesus (as Jesus himself admits: "My teaching is not my own. It comes from Him Who sent me." (John 7:16))
We have to remember that God’s representative is doing God’s will. This is why the "servants" ask the "owner" what to do about the "weeds."
The “seed” is the teachings of God that originate from the Supreme Being, and are passed out by God's messenger, the spiritual teacher, to the student. For those who desire to return home, these seeds plant within the heart and hopefully grow until they mature into the flower of love for God.
The “enemy” is our self-centered desires, and the attractions of the physical world that reflect these desires.
The “sleep” represents our forgetfulness of the Supreme Being, and have our own self-interest in mind.
The “weeds” represents those who follow their self-centered lives and the speculations of the mind - ultimately those who choose not to return to their relationship with the Supreme Being.
Those who choose to return to our innate loving service relationship with the Supreme Being are guided back to Him - symbolized by the "harvesters." How does that work? Jesus described it here:
"If anyone chooses to do God's will, he will find out whether my teaching comes from God or whether I speak on my own." (John 7:17-18)In other words, those who decide to return to their loving service relationship with the Supreme Being are given the understanding that allows them to determine who is speaking the truth. By following those teachings, they are guided back to Him.
Notice that in Jesus' parable, the "owner" didn't have the servants pull the weeds. This illustrates that the Supreme Being gives us the freedom to decide whether to return to our relationship with Him or not. We have the choice to love or not love, and to serve or not serve. This is freedom, because love without freedom is not real love, and the Supreme Being wants real love. This is why fanatical teachers and their institutions do not represent the Supreme Being.
The burning of the weeds at harvest relate to the eventual outcome of our choice. Those who choose not to return to their loving service relationship with the Supreme Being will continue their self-centered existence. But with that, they must also accept the hardships of the physical world in this lifetime and the next - that place where everyone else is also self-centered. This is a miserable and lonely existence - a place symbolized by "burning" because the emptiness inside (brought about by having lost our loving relationship with God) produces the burning of lust and greed, which can translate to anger and violence.
But for those who are serious about returning to their unique loving service relationship with the Supreme Being, his "harvesters" - teach us the tools to learn to love Him and serve Him again:
" 'Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.' This is the first and greatest commandment." (Matt. 22:37-38)
(For a translation of Jesus' statements from the Book of Matthew without institutional sectarian influence, see the Gospels of Jesus - translated from the original Greek texts.)