According to my understanding of mindfulness practice, when I meditate I am training my capacity for penetrative and steadfast observation of the contents and activity of mind, so that insight and understanding about the nature of mind may be experienced.
There is the remembering aspect of mindfulness — remembering to observe how the mind moves — and there's the becoming aware, or knowing how the mind moves.
It seems that in order to be aware, that I must be cognisant of what is happening in my mind, or my experience, and to know how the contents and movements of my mind come about.
When I meditate, I observe, or realise, that my mind has moved away from an object of meditation, such as the breath or an intention of loving-kindness. I then let go of this 'distraction', i.e. accept it with a smile, allow it to be and release it. I then gently bring my attention back to the meditative object.
When the mind 'remembers' the primary meditative intention, i.e. it realises that it has slipped away, unnoticed, to some other aspect of experience, I am led to believe that, over time, my mind may improve its powers of observation and eventually be able to see these movements of mind as they happen, and to become aware, or know, how and why they happen.
Is this 'remembering' simply another activity or movement of the mind? — conditioned, impersonal and beyond control.
If yes, does the experienced meditator eventually come to be aware that the 'remembering to be aware' realisation and the subsequent redirection of attention is, in fact, yet another conditioned, impersonal movement of mind?
Is the intention or desire to redirect one's attention a form of control; of craving?
Do we accommodate this least harmful of cravings — to direct the attention where we 'choose' — because it was considered by the Buddha to be an activity of mind necessary for mind to come to be 'aware' of its own nature?
Or, is the faculty of attention or awareness itself somehow, and for some reason, considered to be 'outside' of the mind? It has some kind of agency, or will?
I find it hard to fathom how the mind can come to be aware of itself; of its own processes. It would seem that some combination of awareness and 'knowing' must exist outside of the inner workings of the mind, or that these faculties of the mind are conditioned processes capable of shining their own light upon themselves and seeing the underlying process itself unfold.