The Sanskrit word "alayavijnana" is translated as "storehouse consciousness" or "ground consciousness" and it means the same as what's referred to as universal consciousness, the universal unconscious, the collective, etc. The alayavijnana/universal consciousness is just like the internet. The internet does not exist except as an abstraction of all the communication protocols and the computers that are interconnected via these protocols. The interacting made possible by these is the internet. It has no existence of its own, it is nowhere located, the member computers that constitute it can and do change all the time, it's far more a process than a thing. Universal consciousness does not exist except as an abstraction of all the consciousnesses that are interconnected via various communication methods (protocols). The interacting made possible by these is universal consciousness. It has no existence of its own, it is nowhere located, the member consciousnesses that constitute it can and do change all the time, it's far more a process than a thing.
There is no way your computer can "merge" into the internet; it can be a part of the internet certainly, and information can flow both onto your computer from the internet and out onto the internet from your computer - but only by that information being communicated to another computer that is also part of the internet. It's the same for consciousness - your consciousness can't "merge" into universal consciousness; it is a part of universal consciousness, and information can flow both into your consciousness from universal consciousness and out into universal consciousness from your consciousness - but only by that information being communicated to another consciousness which is also part of universal consciousness.
Interestingly, you can easily connect for output (upload) to many other consciousnesses at the same time - you can speak to several people at once, even a whole room full. However to make sense of incoming information, you are most frequently restricted to downloading information from one other connection at a time. There are times, such as when being swept up in a crowd, that you do download from more than a single consciousness at one time - tho really you are downloading from the interaction of the crowd of consciousnesses. Your computer however is pretty much limited to connecting to one other computer at a time for both uploading and downloading, tho your computer can switch connections and still make sense of all of the connections very much more quickly than you can.
Even when you computer is off line, it is still heavily under the influence of the internet - all those programs, pictures, movies, emails, etc. that you have downloaded are still accessible and can influence the behavior of your computer while it is off line. It's the same with you - even if you are not actively communicating with any other member of the universal consciousness, you are still heavily influenced by all the ideas, thoughts, emotions, memories that are stored on the "hard drive in your brain" as a result of previous interactions with other beings - that interacting being your universal consciousness connection.
The interacting with other beings that are part of universal consciousness can be face-to-face, but nowadays that is less and less common. We both upload and download information using a large variety of non-face-to-face communication techniques: phones, email, books, radio & TV, and of course the internet. In fact as your read this, you are downloading information into your consciousness that I have uploaded from my consciousness - via the internet; via universal consciousness.
So don't go looking for universal consciousness as a thing - it's not to be found any more than the internet can be found as a thing. They are both concepts that we find useful when discussing the exchange of information, in actuality they are both just a bunch of means of exchanging information plus nodes which do the exchanging. However, the internet was created as the result of intentional human activity; universal consciousness is a much more fundamental process and simply arose as a side effect of the communication of information.
The internet has no existence of its own, it is nowhere located, the member computers that constitute it can and do change all the time, it's far more a process than a thing. It is very anatta!
Things that are made of material components do have a location and material existence. But they still are anatta - you just have to look harder to see it. Space does not have material existence, but it does have a location - inside your empty tea cup, mostly filling the room you are currently in, etc. It too is anatta - and easier to see as such. Consciousness has neither a location nor material existence. It's software - and it too is anatta. How come we find it harder to see it as without self? Oh, yeah, we're attached.
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