The ego can ignore the conscious mind and create its own reality.
Okubo Shibun, a Zen master, was known for painting kakemonos which are Japanese scroll paintings that hang on the wall. He was asked by a patron to paint a bamboo forest and willingly consented and painted a beautiful bamboo grove, which was completely red.
D.T. Suzuki tells that story in one of his essays in his 1949 book, Essays In Zen Buddhism. The story is a good example of how the ego can ignore the conscious mind and create its own reality. Our reality comes from a functioning corner in our psyche and it is dressed in an abundant array of perceptions. We might say our reality is the crude oil of the conscious mind and the refined oil of the ego. When the conscious mind tells the ego something is real a belief is born. Each new belief becomes part of our intricate belief structure.
As we move through our dedicated time element we add associations to our beliefs and influences are salted in for good measure. We create a plethora of masterful realities to experience. The ego’s job is to orchestrate whatever version feels good to the physical self. Each version is real and valid,and each one is available to experience in some form.
Thought is energetic activity and it is a powerful tool in assembling as well as rearranging beliefs about the nature of our chosen reality. We construct several internal stories using the complexity that exists within our own consciousness. The chosen product is a reality that is fine-tuned using the conscious mind and the ego. We accept that product as fact.
The complexity of our consciousness expands the nature of our reality, but, as Suzuki points out, other realities are hidden below the surface of each conscious mind and its adjunct, the ego.
The patron marveled at the extraordinary skill with which the painting had been executed. The patron asked the artist, “Master, I have come to thank you for the picture; but excuse me, you have painted the bamboo in red” Well, cried the master, in what color would you desire it? “In black of course,” replied the patron. And who, answered the artist ever saw a black-leaved bamboo?