Whenever his own tribe won a victory in a battle with another tribe, Si Abdallah el Hassoun inwardly rejoiced. At the same time he considered this pleasure a base emotion, one unworthy of him. Thus, to fortify his sanctity he bade farewell to his students and went to live in Sla, which is by the sea.
It was not long before the divinity students of his schoool sent several of their number to Si Abdallah, imploring him to return to them. Without replying, the saint led them to the rocks at the edge of the sea.
How turbulent the water is! He exclaimed. The students agreed. Then Si Abdallah filled a jar with the water and set it on a rock. yet the water in here is still, he said, pointing at the jar. Why?
A student answered: Because it has been taken out of the place where it was.
Now you see why I must stay here, Si Abdallah said.
~ from “Points in Time,” Paul Bowles