It is a story of a Sufi mystic, who was never seen unhappy his whole life — he was always playful and laughing. He gave this message to everybody who came to him — not through words, but by example. His happiness and laughter was infectious. In his last days, when he was about to die, he was laughing the same way he laughed always.
This was a matter of surprise to all his disciples, and one of them finally asked him: “Beloved Master, we cannot believe that you can be happy and laughing even now when you are on your death bed. We are feeling sad and miserable. We always wanted to ask you many times in your life why you are never sad. How did you manage to be happy in life? How are you managing it now as well, at the time of your death?”
The Sufi master replied: “It is simple. If you know how to remain happy in life, you will not have to worry when you die. When I was a young man, I used to be a really miserable person. But then I met my enlightened master.
My master looked to me always happy, sitting under a tree and laughing for no reason at all. I wondered that he had nothing, nobody to take care of him and still he was happy. I asked him, ‘Master, I cannot believe that you can be happy and laughing just sitting under this tree. What is your secret?’
The old man said, ‘One day I was also as sad and miserable as you are. I meditated deeply, and then it dawned on me: You are unhappy because you choose to be unhappy. The same way, you can choose to be happy. Whatever is happening in your life is your own choice.’
Since that day, I have been very decisive. Every morning when I wake up, I say to myself, ‘what do you want today — happiness or misery? What do you prefer today?’ Then it becomes simple — I simply choose to be happy. This is my daily meditation.