Each week, spiritual teacher Deepak Chopra responds to Oprah.com users' questions with enlightening advice to help them live their best lives.
Q: For quite some time, I have struggled with "God" always referred to in the male gender (i.e., "he" and "him"). Can you suggest how I can either be more accepting of this or substitute a more neutral approach to God with no gender at all? Thank you very much.
— Teresa O., Newton, New Jersey
In the Judeo-Christian religion, the concept of God as male has become ingrained. It leads millions of people to imagine a patriarch with a long white beard sitting on a throne above the clouds. I don't know if this irks you, annoys you, arouses a sense of unfairness or simply strikes you as too limiting for a universal deity that is all-embracing.
In the East, they tend to want it both ways: personal and universal. Personal deities are worshiped, in the belief that having a humanized object to look at, focus on and venerate is only human. At the same time, however, it's understood that the true nature of Godhead is infinite, beyond limits and boundless. Does that work for you?
If not, my best advice is to use this dilemma as part of your spiritual growth. Get to the bottom of what really bothers you. Explore the question with others. Read and grow. One thing I would warn against: Don't let this single issue—or any other—become a thorn in your side. There's a lot more to the spiritual path than whether a letter mailed to God should be labeled Mr. or Ms.