A rare author photo of Neville Goddard (1905–1972), circa 1940s.

You Are What You Think You Are

The radical metaphysics of Neville Goddard’s first book

Mitch Horowitz
10 min readMay 17


Although he died in relative obscurity in 1972, mystic Neville Goddard (1905–1972) now ranks among the 21st century’s most widely followed writers and lecturers in alternative spirituality.

Search results for the mononymous Neville’s talks number in the millions. His books, once relegated to literature tables at New Thought churches (and even then difficult to find) — populate countless editions which, along with an expanding catalogue of anthologies, amass yearly sales of hundreds of thousands in print, audio, and digital.

Across Neville’s vast range of lectures, which he freely permitted audience members to tape-record in a dawning age of portable technology — a foresight that secured his legacy in the online era — the teacher contended with unfailing simplicity and elegance that everything you see and experience is the out-picturing of your emotionalized thoughts and mental images.

“The only God,” the radical idealist told audiences, “is your own wonderful human imagination.”

Neville’s literary career began in 1939 with his slender, evocative volume, At Your Command. It is not only the mystic’s first book but among his most elegant and powerful statements in a career that spanned more than ten volumes and thousands of lectures.

With disarming brevity, At Your Command presents Neville’s full-circle philosophy: Your imagination is the creative force called God in Scripture; the Bible itself is neither historical nor theological but rather a symbolic blueprint of the individual’s psychological development.

“Every man,” Neville said in 1967, “is destined to discover that Scripture is his autobiography.”

It is idealist philosophy taken to the razor’s edge, argued with jewel-like precision. However frequently Neville restated his basic premise, it always sounded fresh, reaching even repeat listeners or readers as though for the first time —a gift possessed by Ralph Waldo Emerson (1803–1882), Jiddu Krishnamurti (1895–1986), Vernon Howard (1918-1992), and few other modern spiritual voices.



Mitch Horowitz

"Treats esoteric ideas & movements with an even-handed intellectual studiousness"-Washington Post | PEN Award-winning historian | Censored in China