Thursday, April 28, 2016

Siddhartha by Hermann Hesse

Attorney Chris Llinas assists clients through J. Christopher Llinas Attorney-At-Law, his private Ocean Pines, Maryland, practice. In his free time, Chris Llinas reads for entertainment and notes Siddhartha by Herman Hesse as a work he particularly enjoys.

Siddhartha was originally written in German and published in 1922. It did not become popular until after the author’s death. The novel has proven to be highly influential. Siddhartha tells the story of a man in India on a lifelong quest for enlightenment self-understanding.

The novel's main character, Siddhartha, starts life in a wealthy family, but renounces his comfortable existence as a young man to live as a beggar while studying spirituality and meditating. As a middle-aged man, he falls in love with a beautiful woman. He then transforms himself into a successful merchant to impress her and eventually becomes her lover. He feels unfilled, however, by his material lifestyle and eventually abandons business to live humbly by the river in harmony with nature and finally lives at peace with himself.

The main character in Siddhartha questions authority, challenges himself, and never gives up hope on his road to enlightenment. In part because of these themes, the book was popular with many people involved in the counterculture movement of the 1960s.

Wednesday, April 20, 2016

El Camino de Santiago

Attorney Chris Llinas, a 1997 graduate of the Franklin Pierce Law Center, now the University of New Hampshire School of Law, gained considerable experience in the law as a public defender, an assistant state’s attorney, a solo law practitioner, and corporate counsel before opening his own private practice, J. Christopher Llinas, Attorney at Law, in Ocean Pines, Maryland, in early 2015. An avid athlete and traveler, Chris Llinas plans to walk the final 100 kilometers of the Camino de Santiago in Spain.

In English, “El Camino de Santiago” is “The Way of St. James,” any one of many routes taken by pilgrims to reach the Cathedral of Santiago de Compostela in northwestern Spain, reputedly the final resting place of the remains of Jesus’ apostle, St. James the Elder. For many centuries, the Camino de Santiago was one of the three main Christian pilgrimages, along with the pilgrimages to Rome and to Jerusalem. Christians who completed any of these pilgrimages expected to receive spiritual blessings.

Modern pilgrimages are memorialized with a “compostela,” a certificate attesting to the pilgrim’s journey. A “compostela” is granted to all pilgrims who document their walk over the final 100 kilometers, or cycle over the final 200 kilometers, in a “credencial,” a special document similar to a passport, available to pilgrims from a variety of sources. When they stay overnight along the route, eat in a restaurant, or visit a church, museum, or police station along the route, they can have their “credenciales” stamped with each establishment’s unique identifier, called a “cello,” thus documenting their journey.                            

Tuesday, April 12, 2016

“Whoever Finishes First, We’ll Call Him the Ironman”

Attorney Chris Llinas earned his law degree in 1997 from Franklin Pierce Law Center (now the University of New Hampshire School of Law). He recently opened his own practice, J. Christopher Llinas, Attorney at Law, in Ocean Pines, Maryland. An avid athlete who has completed 14 marathons, including two in 2015, Chris Llinas plans to run in the Marine Corps Marathon the week after he competes in Ironman Maryland.

“Swim 2.4 miles! Bike 112 miles! Run 26.2 miles! Brag for the rest of your life!” This handwritten note accompanied invitations to the very first Ironman competition held in Hawaii in February 1978. The competition, the brainchild of U.S. Navy Commander John Collins and his wife Judy, was intended to answer once and for all who was the toughest athlete: the runner, the swimmer, or the cyclist? Collins and his tablemates at the awards banquet for a local race had gotten into a heated debate over the question, which inspired Collins to combine a marathon with a demanding open-sea swim and a grueling bike race around the island of Oahu. Legend has it that Collins was so enthused by the idea that he jumped onstage at the event, grabbed the microphone, and announced the competition, declaring “Whoever finishes first, we’ll call him the Ironman!”

That first race had 15 competitors, of whom 12 finished. The winner was Gordon Haller, a U.S. Navy communications specialist. It’s said that runner-up John Dunbar, a Navy Seal, had a good shot at winning, but his support team ran out of water during the marathon, and so gave him beer instead.

In the years since, the Ironman triathlon has grown into an event of international proportions, and races are held on six of the seven continents. In addition to the “full” Ironman, many competitions include several events for different age groups, with stages of varying lengths, to encourage athletes of all ages to compete.