In short, I don't believe that most of what I experience in wifty play/work is literally true or real. When I'm engaged in wifty activities, I fairly consciously set my critical observer off to the side and tell her, "Okay, you're going to sit over here and take notes, and we'll discuss your objections later." With that, I can go off and experience what's happening without constantly having to deal with the rational voice in my head saying, "But you know the tree isn't actually laughing, right? Right??"
It seems flip to say I don't really care what's "real" about the experiences, but to a large degree, that's true. And it's also one of the things that I find annoying about many people's descriptions of wifty stuff: That is, it makes having a conversation with someone very much like trying to nail jello to a tree*, because there's so much, "Oh, no, you can't try to explain it rationally. Just feel it." So, of course, it annoys me that I basically do that same thing to myself. And, yet, it's true. I don't think there's any literal externality to any of it, but that's not the important part.
Mostly, it's pretty obvious to me that wifty stuff is a great way to let different parts of my brain have the microphone for a while.
But. Also, it would be idiotic to say that our current scientific understanding of the world is full and complete and comprehensive. I am sure there are dynamics and systems that we haven't figured out how to measure, yet, and it would not surprise me if it turns out that energies (for lack of a better word) between people or between people and the natural world fall into that category. In the way that I think we've all felt someone looking at us, I also feel things in the woods that might be best explained by some communication on a level that I'm not really consciously aware of.
Now, I'm not prepared to go much further than that. I don't believe I'm telepathic, and whatever empathy I have is firmly based in literal and real engagement with and connection to people, and is externally identifiable, even if not precicely measurable.
That said, some of the most fun with wift that I have is the stuff that I can't explain by saying that it's just my brain talking to me in a different voice. That is, different trees having different "personalities" (tree-onalities?) is easily explicable by suggesting, for example, that I'm projecting some aspect of myself into the tree as other. That's fine. But to stand in the woods and "hear" a twig snap where there's no twig, but instead, a person hiding... this is less explicable. And that's great! I like being forced to question my conclusions about all of this. Uh. Mostly. Sometimes it's tiresome, confusing or annoying.
I'm reasonably firmly a member of the cult of scientific rationality in my understanding of the world; I just like to take vacations from time to time. And it's good to remind myself that 500 years ago, science had a very different understanding of the world; it's not like today has some kind of lock on the ultimate truth.
What I experience when I'm doing wifty stuff is as real as it needs to be to be useful, interesting, fun, playful, challenging, affecting, weird, alienating and engaging. If you know me, you know that's enough to make it worthwhile.
*Naturally, this makes the tree laugh.