Some teachers talk about working through collective layers, and it is maybe not quite as mysterious as it may sound.
As with anything else, we can work with it in the usual ways.
We can see it more as it is, through different forms of inquiry. We can feel it through fully allowing it. And from those two, a love for it is invited in. Head, belly and heart… seeing, feeling and loving it as it is, as if it would never change. Beyond the veils of shoulds and resistance, it is revealed as something that is more than OK, as it is.
(This easily sounds polished and glib when talked about this way, but it is something we each can explore for ourselves.)
And if we look, we see that just about anything arising in us, any patterns of mind, emotions and actions, are already collective. Even what appears as most personal are collective.
It has infinite causes, reaching out through personal experiences, family, subcultures, cultures, human civilization, human biology and evolution, and the dynamics and particulars of this planet, solar system, galaxy and universe. Even the most personal is collective in this sense.
And if it appears as a problem, that too comes from these dynamics. It comes from the shoulds that has its roots in human biology and evolution (pain/injury/death = bad/evil/wrong), and has been elaborated and maintained by human civilization, flavored by particular cultures and subcultures.
Whenever we work with any should… any veil of beliefs, identities, resistance… we work with collective layers and patterns, as they appear here and now, through this particular human self.
We inquire into a stressful belief, and that is a belief known to humanity for millennia. We allow an experience that has been resisted, due to a belief, and that type of experience has been resisted by innumerable people throughout history.