I have read this paragraph a couple of times, but I haven't really had a light bulb moment.
My interpretation is that the upper example wants one to play
In bar 1: four beats of ones own choosing
bar 2: the specific notes and rests as explicitly written
bar 3: a whole note
In the Lower example Four quarter beats per bar.
I am looking for a bit of help on this one. The wording itself has threw me a little bit.