Do you notice that part of you that thinks about you? How can you be both the thinker of your own thoughts and the subject of thought? Well, only if the mind can turn around on itself, and if it could do that, then one could reflect on their own thoughts in the present moment, but they could also simultaneously realize that reflection is itself a mental thought. If the mind could reflect on itself, then it could comprehend its entire self at once, but this is simply impossible and in fact, doesn't even make sense, because in the act of comprehension, the possibility of comprehending the act of comprehension is lost. A layer is automatically added each time you attempt to get at the fundamental layer. The mind cannot reflect on itself, it can only reflect on memories of its products.
Reflection is not about present experiences, either. When practicing mindfulness or reflection, there is an actively held intention to notice thoughts. Once the thought occurs, it is experienced, then immediately it is remembered that one should be noticing it, and then they recall it and notice it. The object of the reflection is now a very recent memory, but the memory is what is presently occurring, not the experience the memory represents . One could attempt to be mindful of what is actually occurring in the present by attempting to notice the act of reflection itself. But in noticing the act of reflection, there is a subtle layer behind that going unnoticed: the possibility of reflection upon reflecting on reflection. The most immediate, primal layer is always out of attentional reach because consciousness is not actually reflective. It cannot objectivize itself. One could argue this by saying that there is a difference between thoughts that occur and thoughts that you are mindful of; one you are conscious of, the other is merely available to be conscious of, and therefore, the difference is the directionality of consciousness which is under intentional control. I argue that the difference is not a shift in the direction of consciousness, because to shift the direction of consciousness one must exercise their own volition upon consciousness, which is impossible since volition is an experience of consciousness, thus volition cannot act upon consciousness, only within it. Instead, directionality is merely an experience (similar to intentionality or volition) that is itself a property of the total experience.
So then, the alternative and more probable description is that intent, volition, self, directionality, are all experiences or ways of experience - aspects of experience. So, when one has the experience of "Deciding to intentionally observe or attend to my thoughts", such is the case in mindfulness meditation, what is really happening is that the thoughts they are attending to have themselves transformed. It is not that the meditator has switched his/her perspective from being "within" the thought to "Observing the thought passively and objectively" (which is experienced in mindfulness meditation). Rather, this within-or-without property is a property of the thought itself (thought being defined as a subjective experience) and so this property is what changes. Any act of intention is the mind-experiencing in a certain way. Thus, one cannot reduce the entire mind to a single comprehension. One cannot transcend the mind. One cannot become the outside observer of the mind, because acknowledgement, attention*, volition, intention, etc. are all experiences of the mind (where the mind is defined as the summation of subjective experiences). ...[Continue reading on Innerabode]