Problem Solving

Inasmuch as for each day there is a new problem and for every problem an expedient solution, such affairs should be referred to the Ministers of the House of Justice that they may act according to the needs and requirements of the time. They that, for the sake of God, arise to serve His Cause, are the recipients of divine inspiration from the unseen Kingdom. It is incumbent upon all to be obedient unto them

Bahá’u’lláh, Tablets of Bahá’u’lláh, p. 27

The omnipotence of God shall solve every difficulty.

‘Abdu’l-Bahá, Selections from the Writings of ‘Abdu’l-Bahá, p. 116

The fundamental laid down in the Bahá’í Administration must, of course, be adhered to, but there is a tendency for Assemblies to constantly issue detailed procedures and rules to the friends, and He considers this hampers the work of the Cause, and is entirely premature. As far as is possible cases which come up should be dealt with and settled as they arise, and not a blanket ruling be laid down to cover all possible similar cases. This preserves the elasticity of the Administrative Order and prevents red tape from developing and hampering the work of the Cause... Uniformity in fundamentals is essential but not in every detail. On the contrary, diversity, the solving of the local situation in the right way, is important.

Shoghi Effendi, Lights of Guidance, p. 37

The below five steps were suggested by the beloved Guardian Shoghi Effendi to a believer as a means of finding a solution through the use of prayer.

This statement belongs to the category of statements known as “pilgrims notes”, and as such has no authority, but since it seems to be particularly helpful and clear it was felt that believers should not be deprived of it.

1st Step: Pray and meditate about it. Use the prayers of the Manifestations as they have the greatest power. Then remain in the silence of contemplation for a few minutes.

2nd Step: Arrive at a decision and hold this. This decision is usually born during the contemplation. It may seem almost impossible of accomplishment but if it seems to be as answer to a prayer or a way of solving the problem, then immediately take the next step.

3rd Step: Have determination to carry the decision through. Many fail here. The decision, budding into determination, is blighted and instead becomes a wish or a vague longing. When determination is born, immediately take the next step.

4th Step: Have faith and confidence that the power will flow through you, the right way will appear, the door will open, the right thought, the right message, the right principle, or the right book will be given to you. Have confidence and the right thing will come to your need. Then, as you rise from prayer, take at once the 5th step.

5th Step: Act as though it had all been answered. Then act with tireless, ceaseless energy. And as you act, you, yourself, will become a magnet, which will attract more power to your being, until you become an unobstructed channel for the Divine power to flow through you.

Many pray but do not remain for the last half of the first step. Some who meditate arrive at a decision, but fail to hold it. Few have the determination to carry the decision through, still fewer have the confidence that the right thing will come to their need.

But how many remember to act as though it had all been answered? How true are these words ?Greater than the prayer is the spirit in which it is uttered? and greater than the way it is uttered is the spirit in which it is carried out.

Shoghi Effendi, Principles of Bahá’í Administration, p. 91

If in the first group of people who have gathered, unanimity is not achieved, new people shall be added, after which a group equal in number to the Greatest Name[9] or fewer or greater shall be chosen from their midst by lots; whereupon the consultation shall be renewed; whatever is the result shall be obeyed. If the second time opinions again differ, repeat the process a third time. This time obey the majority vote. Verily He directeth whom He willeth to the straight Path. This statement appears in 'Questions and Answers', described by Shoghi Effendi as an appendix to the 'Kitáb-i-Aqdas'. It was revealed before Spiritual Assemblies had been established and was in answer to a question about the Bahá’í teaching on consultation. The emergence of Spiritual Assemblies, to which the friends may always turn, in no way prohibits them from following, if they wish, the procedure outlined in the above passage when they desire to consult on their personal problems. The quotation clearly indicates Bahá’u’lláh's preference for unanimity.

Universal House of Justice, The Compilation of Compilations vol. I, p. 93

Once it is in the hand of the Assembly the believer’s obligation is discharged . . . unless, of course, the Spiritual Assembly asks him to take specific action.

Universal House of Justice, NSA USA - Developing Distinctive Bahá’í Communities