So I started mining from monero-wallet-cli using "start_mining 2". When I enter "status", the output is as follows; "Refreshed 1254269/1254269, synced, daemon RPC v1.0". Am I actually in a pool? I have seen references to stale blocks if you are not mining in a pool, which leads me to believe that I may be.
You are mining in a pool when you are running a pool miner. If you mine directly from the daemon or wallet, you are solo mining, not pool mining.
Solo mining, which is your case, means you will take a long time to find a block. However, when you do find one, you will get to keep the entire block reward (currently about 8 monero, I believe) instead of it being distributed among all pool miners and getting a pittance.
Note that solo mining is done by the deamon. Starting mining in the wallet merely instructs the daemon to do so. If you want to double check you are actually mining, run
status in the daemon itself. If you restart the daemon, mining will be automatically off on restart, for instance, though you would not have told the wallet to stop mining.