Updated: Nov 7, 2020
Previously, I asserted the "simple simplicity" of the Buddha's Eight-fold Path to the Middle Way. A meditative/contemplative habit is the method. It doesn't have to be a Buddhist habit. Meditative/contemplative method existed long before the Buddha
What does "to meditate" mean to you?
What does "to contemplate" mean to you?
My English dictionary defines them differently, but declares them synonymous. Hmm...
Both words come into common use from 16th Century Latin.
Meditari is to deeply focus and is associated most commonly with spiritually focused meditative practice. However, the root of the word also relates to "measure" and "mete."
In the western US, property is most often measured in fractions of a section (1sq.mi/640 acres), or fractions of acres. Eastward and on to England and Europe, "metes and bounds (measures and boundaries)" becomes common. Property bounded by the middle of the river, measured in paces, rods, or yards NW to the great rock and then... You get it.
If I had a delicious pie and a group of friends, I would strive to "mete out (measure out)" equal portions to all. "To measure" is important to the meaning of "to meditate." To measure out our energies, neither too much, nor too little, is the Middle Way.
Contemplari is to look, thoughtfully, to observe, deeply. The verb contains the word templum--temple--a place of observation. Historically, a temple is a place wherein one observes one's inner universe, but also a places to observe ones's outer universe, to find a balance between the two.