Joseph Harrison “Joey” Lowenstein is an amazing 18-year-old who loves life. He has everyday thoughts—and deep, searching questions—of a very healthy teenager. But so far, he’s had little chance of verbalizing anything. Joey is on the autism spectrum. He has a heart of gold. I know this not just because I am his mom, but because he has a deep desire to “Break the Barriers of Autism” (his trademarked tag line), and help those less fortunate than he is. Joey is already on the road to accomplishing this.
About six months after I learned Transcendental Meditation (TM), I approached DLF’s executive director Bob Roth with the notion of teaching Joey to meditate. Bob and Joey met and there was an instant connection. It took time for Joey to be able to sit quietly with his eyes closed. In the beginning, Joey could only sit for two minutes after which he would jump up and go into another room. Over time, his comfort level increased. He was able to meditate for 20 minutes, and he began to feel the benefits of his mind starting to quiet down.
Here is what Joey spelled on his Letter Board when asked to write about his experience learning to meditate and what it means to him:
TITLE: MEDITATION FOR ALL
MEDITATION IS A PRACTICE THAT HAS THE ABILITY TO HELP MANY DIFFERENT PEOPLE IN THEIR LIVES. HERE AT THE DAVID LYNCH FOUNDATION, THEY WELCOMED ME WITH OPEN ARMS.
I AM A TEENAGE GUY, I DO NOT SPEAK A LOT, I AM AUTISTIC, I TYPE AND USE A LETTER BOARD TO COMMUNICATE. I THINK, I FEEL, AND I HAVE THE ABILITY TO MEDITATE. I HAVE BEEN MEDITATING FOR TWO YEARS. IT HAS BECOME A PART OF MY EVERYDAY.
I FIND THAT IT IS THE BEST WAY TO START MY DAY. IT CALMS THE PERSON WHO HAS TROUBLE CALMING ON THEIR OWN.
I FEEL PROUD TO HAVE BUILT UP THE TIME I AM ABLE TO MEDITATE. JUST AS MEDITATION AND THE DAVID LYNCH FOUNDATION HAVE ACCEPTED ME, I ACCEPT ALL THE GOOD THEY HAVE BROUGHT TO MY LIFE.
One of the main areas that the Joey Lowenstein Foundation (Joey’s brainchild, also dubbed “JL Foundation” and “JLF”) supports is “Self-Development” which embodies the Transcendental Meditation (TM) technique. Joey has raised funds to help other autistic people and their parents learn how to meditate through the David Lynch Foundation—people who would otherwise not have the means to do so. Joey is committed to spreading the word about TM and how it makes him feel.
To quote Joey, “Transcendental Meditation calms the mind—and the mom!”
This month, Joey’s Foundation will be organizing a “Think Tank” and fundraiser to help more autistics gain speech using a method called the Lee Silverman Vocal Therapy (LSVT).
JLF is developing a “Sizzle” to raise interest and funding for a documentary about Joey’s life and ongoing accomplishments.
We look forward to our continuing collaboration with the David Lynch Foundation. Through future fundraising events, we will support families with autistic children and autistic young adults to learn this amazing technique—a technique that is most needed in today’s world. We are constantly being bombarded every minute with emails, texts, and social media—here is a way for families to come together, peacefully and with meaning.
TM is a technique that can be used almost anywhere—on a train, a plane, a bus, in your home. It’s a way for us to shut out the world and relax our brains and bodies. It’s a way for families to reconnect, a way for those with autism to quiet down their noisy brains, get a breather, and some peace in their day.
With hope for the future,
Roberta and Joey Lowenstein