"When anyone hears the message about the kingdom ...” (Matt. 13:18-23)

“Listen then to what the parable of the sower means: When anyone hears the message about the kingdom and does not understand it, the evil one comes and snatches away what was sown in his heart. This is the seed sown along the path. What was sown on rocky places is the man who hears the word and at once receives it with joy. But since he has no root, he lasts only a short time. When trouble or persecution comes because of the word, he quickly falls away. What was sown among the thorns is the man who hears the word, but the worries of this life and the deceitfulness of wealth choke it, making it unfruitful. But what was sown on good soil is the man who hears the word and understands it. He produces a crop, yielding a hundred, sixty or thirty times what was sown.” (Matt. 13:18-23)

What is Jesus describing?

Jesus is explaining the parable of the farmer and the seed discussed earlier.

The subject of Jesus' explanation - and the symbolism of "the seed" is the "word." What is the "word"? "Word" here is translated from the Greek word λόγος (logos), which means "doctrine, teaching" according to the lexicon. Jesus is speaking of his teachings here - his teachings that are ultimately coming from the Supreme Being:
“My teaching is not my own. It comes from the One who sent me." (John 7:16)

What does 'Sown within the heart' mean?

What is 'sown'? To sow means to plant something that will grow. This is a reference to farming. When a seed is sown, it is planted into the ground. After the seed and the ground are watered, the seed begins to sprout. Once it sprouts, it begins to produce its own fruit and seeds, which then can be planted.

The word "heart" - translated from the Greek word καρδία (kardia) - isn't referring to the organ that pumps blood through the body. It is referring to the mind and the spiritual self within. Jesus is referring to this process of hearing and then understanding, and taking that teaching within the heart. This helps us make decisions about our direction in life.
"But the seed falling on good soil refers to someone who hears the word and understands it."
Thus, when Jesus says, "what is sown within the heart," he is speaking of hearing and understanding those teachings from God, and taking those teachings into one's life and practicing them.

Who is the 'evil one'?

Jesus also describes the “evil one,” as one who takes away (or "snatches") what is "sown in the heart." Who is the "evil one" and how can he snatch what is "sown in the heart"?

Many assume there is a person who is out of God's control who influences us to do bad things. Many like to blame this person - calling him satan - for the decisions that we make in our lives.

It is important to understand that the Supreme Being never loses control. As has been described by some institutions and their teachers, God does not have an adversary that can interrupt His will. If He did, He would not be the Supreme Being

Therefore, we must accept that the “evil one” is not God's enemy. It is part of God's creation and design to allow us to challenge those teachings "sown in the heart."

The phrase “evil one,” is being translated from the Greek word πονηρός (ponēros) - which means "full of labors, annoyances, hardships;" and "bad, of a bad nature or condition."

In other words, Jesus is not describing a single person - "evil one" here - he is describing something "bad" or "evil" and "full of hardships."

What is Jesus describing? The physical world and the various illusions and hardships that exist here. He is also describing self-centeredness - which gives rise to greed and lust - as the physical world is a facility that permits us to exercise our self-centeredness.

How did we get stuck here?

We are not these physical bodies. These temporary bodies are simply vehicles we drive around for a while. And just as a car breaks down, after a few decades, our physical bodies break down and die, and then we leave them. And just as a computer icon allows a person to access the virtual world of a video game, our physical body allows us to access the virtual reality of the physical world.

And just as the video game is basically just a computer program made up of 0s and 1s, the physical world is an illusory field made up of floating molecules that go from one structure to another. And what we see with our eyes is simply light reflected off of these molecules.

In other words, while the physical world is real - and molecules are real - this physical world has the illusion of permanence. It is not stable. It is not permanent. Everything is changing all around us. It is like the ground is moving underneath us - but worse. Everything is moving. Molecules are being exchanged and rearranged around us constantly.

And those forms of this world - like the physical bodies of our family and friends - are also changing, just as our body is constantly changing. Within five years every molecule in the body has been replaced by a new molecule. As such, our bodies are recycling molecules as they head towards death.

But this illusory nature of the physical world has been programmed in by the Supreme Being. He created this illusion of permanence. Why? To allow the spirit-person - each of us - to exercise our desires for independence as well as provide a learning experience.

Why were we created?

The Supreme Being created each of us - as spirit-persons - to love and serve Him. We each have a unique and innate loving service relationship with Him. But because love requires freedom, we each also have the freedom to love Him or not.

So what happens to those who choose not to love Him? Those of us who decided not to love Him are given a facility to virtually be away from Him. Even though He's the Supreme Being and He is everywhere, He created a virtual dimension where those within it don't have to see Him.

So He gave us these physical bodies that are not able to see or perceive Him or the spiritual world. They are like blinders that prevent us from seeing what is around us. In this way, He has allowed us to escape Him and escape our real selves. With the facility of the mind and the senses, we are able to completely forget our identity as His loving servant, and pretend to be someone we are not.

One might compare this situation with a teenager having his own video game software and equipment. The teenager can be inside the parent's house. But when he turns on the video game he can completely forget where he is physically and immerse himself inside the video game.

In the same way, we are spirit-persons who are temporarily occupying a virtual physical body, which allows us to forget our spiritual self.

Using these facilities of this virtual world, we get to achieve mundane physical accomplishments and proclaim our own greatness. We can pretend that we are accomplished and skilled. We get to exercise our self-centeredness and see ourselves as the center of the universe. We get to pretend that we are the boss - of our children, our pets, our subordinates at work, or otherwise.

In other words, the facilities of the physical world allow us to pretend that we are the supreme being of our lives.

And many so-called religious philosophies accommodate this illusion. Some teach that God is just there to serve us and do whatever we want Him to do. Others teach that we are god. Either way, these are accommodating our desire to be the center of the universe, with everything revolving around us.

Interestingly, the philosophy that teaches we are god states that we created everything and everyone around us for our own enjoyment. This is actually the ultimate - or epitome - of our need to escape reality and the authority of the Supreme Being.

And this facility - this illusory facility of the physical world - with its various philosophies and grand illusion that the physical forms and things of this world will bring us happiness - is the thing that will "snatch" away the teachings that may be "sown within the heart."

In other words, the illusory nature of the physical world has the ability to dissuade us from understanding and/or practicing the teachings of Jesus. Why?

To continue to allow us to pretend that we are supreme. To continue to allow us to live in the illusion that this is our permanent home and we will be happy if we just get that one more thing.

In other words, we aren't ready to return to our loving service relationship with the Supreme Being.

So the Supreme Being accommodates our inner consciousness. The ability of the illusory nature of the physical world to snatch away our understanding of the teachings of Jesus is, in the end, our own inner desire not to return home.

Who is the 'sower'?

The sower in Jesus' parable is the messenger of the Supreme Being, who is trying to plant the loving message of God in our hearts. And what is this message? God is calling us back home to Him.

The Supreme Being wants us to return to Him out of our own free will. He wants us to freely decide to give up our rebellious nature and return to the loving relationships (with Him and His children) that we were created for and will fulfill us, instead of continuing our self-centered lives in this lonely physical world.

This is expressed in Jesus' most important teaching:
" '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)