The question of coincidence has always intrigued me. I understand absolutely that we assign our own meaning to things. I believe the fabric of life is pattern recognition, from a biological perspective as well as a spiritual one. (One of my favorite early posts rambles on about patterns and art.)
It's a deliciously complex cycle. Things are there, we notice them, we assign meaning based on other, earlier inputs, which in turn reinforces what we will notice and call coincidence the next time. Things mean whatever we decide they mean, whether that's because we've been taught a meaning or come to our own through our exposure to ideas and experience.
Or maybe there really are no coincidences. Take this, which I lifted from Wikipedia:
Deepak Chopra and other proponents of ancient Vedic spiritual and other mystical teachings insist on the fact that there is absolutely no coincidence in the world. That everything that occurs can be related to a prior cause or association, no matter how vast or how minute and trivial. All is impacted by something related to it that is unseen or seen, cognized or not in the universe. He and many others worldwide also suggest that science, in particular mathematics, is rapidly moving towards this conclusion as well. Nonlocality theory of physics is just the latest example of phenomenon that seemed coincidental, but are in fact causal. The claim is that this and other science and mathematical conclusions can extend this to every aspect of existence.
When I find three pennies on the street in quick succession, I take it as a sign that it's time for a little I-Ching, (which, appropriately enough, is an entire system based on assigning meaning to coincidence.)
From a rational standpoint, I just happened to notice a lonely penny when I had a problem to think about. (And really, when don't I?!) It has no meaning other than people are careless with coins.
I probably walk past abandoned pennies all the time, but when I'm in a certain frame of mind, my subconscious flags the first penny and I consciously begin looking for numbers two and three. I kick start the thought-chain that corresponds to whatever degree of universal intent I believe in.
I can believe that my late great-grandmother is telling me of coming financial abundance. That my guardian angel put three pennies in my path because she has a message for me. That a secret group of Grail Guardians are giving me the last clue.
It's really all about me. (duh!) Finding three pennies-- even the act of naming it a "coincidence" -- is meaningful purely because of ideas I've already integrated. The number has significance only because I will stop looking when I get to number three.
Or maybe, there are always only three because that's how many I bring into "reality" from the energy of the universe and they aren't there unless I do. Is the Moon is there when no one is looking at it? Quantum science says maybe not.
I wonder if I can start finding hundred-dollar bills in groups of three?