"Understanding the Law of Dependent Origination, how because of one thing, something else arises, we can begin to break the chain of conditioning. When pleasant things arise, we don't cling. When unpleasant things arise, we don't condemn. When neutral things arise, we're not forgetful.... We are free to break this chain, to free ourselves from conditioned reactions. It takes a powerful mindfulness in every moment not to allow feelings to generate desire. When there's ignorance in the mind, feeling conditions desire. If there's something pleasant, we want it; something unpleasant, we desire to get rid of it. But if instead of ignorance in the mind there is wisdom and awareness, then we experience feeling but don't compulsively or habitually grasp or push away.... No longer driven on by ignorance and desire, the whole mass of suffering is brought to an end."
For me this is a lovely practical way of looking at dependent origination which can seem long and cumbersome in some people's hands. But here Goldstein manages to offer us the short course (the chapter is longer) by giving us a powerful view of our everyday behaviour, which consists of a lot of habitual grasping and pushing away. Need comfort, I'll have a latte. Fear might make me neglect making a doctor's appointment to attend to a nagging health issue. I might feel dislike for someone because they remind me of my third grade teacher who never warmed to me (reactions like this often float below our own personal radar and feel unexplained). I might feel depressed because it's been cloudy and rainy for so long.
It's often hard to see how these moment by moment feelings and thoughts add up to the subtle flavour of the day, one of minor (or major) dissatisfaction. And while it is fine to have preferences it is the strength of our clinging to them ,the feeling sense associated with them and our unconsciousness of them, that colour our world in ways we don't even notice most of the time and add up to suffering or unsatisfactoriness.
Maybe this is a simplistic way of thinking about dependent origination but if it moves us in the direction of true understanding, then it can only be helpful. When there is a large glass of water to drink, it's best to do it one sip at a time. Otherwise a lot of coughing and sputtering can ensue.