90 Spirituality Studies 9-1 Spring 2023 1 Introduction In modern individualistic societies, people are increasingly concerned with whom they want to become, what they aspire to achieve, and which meanings and ideas they want to implement. Religious and ideal pluralism has weakened the dependence of religious affiliation on objective structures of society. As a result, individuals face the choice of their life path regarding culture, ideals, and faith, choosing traditional and non-traditional ways of generating meaning. According to Ipsos’ survey in 2010, 13% of French practice relaxing exercises such as yoga, meditation, or sophrology [1]. In a research conducted by the Department of Sociology of V. N. Karazin Kharkiv National University in 2009 involving students, 48% of the students gave a positive answer to the question, Do you follow any religion? Out of the respondents, 35% responded negatively, and 17% answered, No, but I do spiritual practices. According to the data from the research performed in 2015, 18,7% of V. N. Karazin Kharkiv National University students practice Eastern spiritual practices [2]. It is undeniable that the spiritual situation, redefining the meaning of “choice,” which turns from possibility to necessity (Berger 1979, 11), actualizes the study of Eastern spiritual practices (e.g., yoga, qigong, reiki) that generate transpersonal experiences. Why have Eastern spiritual practices gained popularity in modern society? What do they have that traditional ecclesiastic religiosity lacks? And finally, how has the life of those who turned to them changed? In our previous works, we have studied certain aspects of including Eastern spiritual practices in an individual’s life (Zubariev 2018, 141–193). However, the answer to these questions would be incomplete without addressing the problem of transpersonal experiences. Due to Eastern spiritual practices being accessible to the large public translator of forms of culture of psychical activity (Abaev 1983), they often aim to achieve a transpersonal experience. 2 Theoretical Basis It should be noted that Eastern religions and psycho-techniques are not the only sources of transpersonal experience. In The Varieties of Religious Experience, William James expresses an opinion that there is some kind of sense of reality in human consciousness, which is “more deep and more general than any of the special and particular” (James 1917, 46), which is a prerequisite of mystical experience. This primary sense of reality is evidenced by hallucinations, for example, when a person suddenly feels someone’s presence around them, which any of the organs of senses cannot perceive. William James tries to demonstrate his thesis wide by giving examples of no relation to the sphere of religiosity. If we talk about religious feelings, many people possess the objects of their belief “in the form of quasi-sensible realities directly apprehended” (James 1917, 51). James emphasises mysticism and argues that the origin of all religions must be sought in mystical states of consciousness. Although James admits that the constitution of his soul precludes the possibility of experiencing mystical states, their reality is confirmed by the testimony of many other people. There are four criteria for mystical experience: ineffability, noetic quality, transiency, and passivity. Ineffability is one of the most precise criteria, as it is difficult to describe their feelings in words that fully convey their experience. They are convinced that only someone who has had a similar experience can understand them. The noetic quality means that mystical states of consciousness are a special form of cognition with enormous significance for human life; it is a revelation that one cannot forget for the rest of their day. Mystical states of consciousness typically last from half an hour to two hours and then give way to everyday consciousness. When experiencing a mystical state, a person usually cannot make voluntary decisions and appears to be under the influence of a higher power. The first two criteria are the most important, and James provides examples of mystical experiences in yoga, Buddhism, and Sufism (James 1917, 286–325). There is no doubt that James’s work is of enormous importance in studying mystical states of consciousness, as he conceptualized them as a distinctly human phenomenon. However, James did not focus on Western religions and spiritual practices as cultural forms that directly translate knowledge of psycho-techniques – various ways to achieve transpersonal experiences (Torchinov 1998). A classic work on the psychology of Eastern religions and philosophies is the book Yoga and the West by the Swiss psy-